Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Mammalian cells have developed intricate mechanisms to interpret, integrate, and respond to extracellular stimuli. For example, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) rapidly activates proinflammatory genes, but our understanding of how this occurs against the ongoing transcriptional program of the cell is far from complete. Here, we monitor the early phase of this cascade at high spatiotemporal resolution in TNF-stimulated human endothelial cells. NF-κB, the transcription factor complex driving the response, interferes with the regulatory machinery by binding active enhancers already in interaction with gene promoters. Notably, >50% of these enhancers do not encode canonical NF-κB binding motifs. Using a combination of genomics tools, we find that binding site selection plays a key role in NF-κΒ-mediated transcriptional activation and repression. We demonstrate the latter by describing the synergy between NF-κΒ and the corepressor JDP2. Finally, detailed analysis of a 2.8-Mbp locus using sub-kbp-resolution targeted chromatin conformation capture and genome editing uncovers how NF-κΒ that has just entered the nucleus exploits pre-existing chromatin looping to exert its multimodal role. This work highlights the involvement of topology in cis-regulatory element function during acute transcriptional responses, where primary DNA sequence and its higher-order structure constitute a regulatory context leading to either gene activation or repression.

Original publication




Journal article


Genome Res

Publication Date





1478 - 1489


Cells, Cultured, Chromatin, Consensus Sequence, Gene Editing, Human Umbilical Vein Endothelial Cells, Humans, Inflammation, NF-kappa B, Promoter Regions, Genetic, Protein Binding, Repressor Proteins, Transcriptional Activation, Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha