Controlling the Lineage Fate Switch in Glial Cells

Controlling the Lineage Fate Switch in Glial Cells

Establishment and maintenance of CNS glial cell identity ensures proper brain development and function, ye t the epigenetic mechanisms underlying glial fate control remain poorly understood.

Researchers show that the histone deacetylase Hdac3 controls oligodendrocyte-specification gene Olig2 expression and functions as a molecular switch for oligodendrocyte and astrocyte lineage determination. Hdac3 ablation leads to a significant increase of astrocytes with a concomitant loss of oligodendrocytes.

Lineage tracing indicates that the ectopic astrocytes originate from oligodendrocyte progenitors. Genome-wide occupancy analysis reveals that Hdac3 interacts with p300 to activate oligodendroglial lineage-specific genes, while suppressing astroglial differentiation genes including NFIA.

Furthermore, they find that Hdac3 modulates the acetylation state of Stat3 and competes with Stat3 for p300 binding to antagonize astrogliogenesis. Thus, the data suggest that Hdac3 cooperates with p300 to prime and maintain oligodendrocyte identity while inhibiting NFIA and Stat3-mediated astrogliogenesis, and thereby regulates phenotypic commitment at the point of oligodendrocyte-astrocytic fate decision.