Molecular Cell - Genome-wide Kinase-Chromatin Interactions Reveal the Regulatory Network of ERK Signaling in Human Embryonic Stem Cells

The extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)/mitogen-activated protein kinase signal-transduction cascade is one of the key pathways regulating proliferation and differentiation in development and disease. ERK signaling is required for human embryonic stem cells’ (hESCs’) self-renewing property. Here, we studied the convergence of the ERK signaling cascade at the DNA by mapping genome-wide kinase-chromatin interactions for ERK2 in hESCs. We observed that ERK2 binding occurs near noncoding genes and histone, cell-cycle, metabolism, and pluripotency-associated genes. We find that the transcription factor ELK1 is essential in hESCs and that ERK2 co-occupies promoters bound by ELK1. Strikingly, promoters bound by ELK1 without ERK2 are occupied by Polycomb group proteins that repress genes involved in lineage commitment. In summary, we propose a model wherein extracellular-signaling-stimulated proliferation and intrinsic repression of differentiation are integrated to maintain the identity of hESCs.

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分子-细胞(MOLECULAR CELL)

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