GLI transcriptional repression regulates tissue-specific enhancer activity in response to hedgehog signaling

Rachel K. Lex, Zhicheng Ji, Kristin N. Falkenstein, Weiqiang Zhou, Joanna L. Henry, Hongkai Ji, Steven A. Vokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Transcriptional repression needs to be rapidly reversible during embryonic development. This extends to the Hedgehog pathway, which primarily serves to counter GLI repression by processing GLI proteins into transcriptional activators. In investigating the mechanisms underlying GLI repression, we find that a subset of GLI binding regions, termed HH-responsive enhancers, specifically loses acetylation in the absence of HH signaling. These regions are highly enriched around HH target genes and primarily drive HH-specific transcriptional activity in the mouse limb bud. They also retain H3K27ac enrichment in limb buds devoid of GLI activator and repressor, indicating that their activity is primarily regulated by GLI repression. Furthermore, the Polycomb repression complex is not active at most of these regions, suggesting it is not a major mechanism of GLI repression. We propose a model for tissue-specific enhancer activity in which an HDAC-associated GLI repression complex regulates target genes by altering the acetylation status at enhancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere50670
StatePublished - Jan 2020


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this