Etv2, an Ets-transcription factor, governs the specification of the earliest hemato-endothelial progenitors during embryogenesis. While the transcriptional networks during hemato-endothelial development have been well described, the mechanistic details are incompletely defined. In the present study, we described a new role for Etv2 as a regulator of cellular proliferation via Yes1 in mesodermal lineages. Analysis of an Etv2-ChIPseq dataset revealed significant enrichment of Etv2 peaks in the upstream regions of cell cycle regulatory genes relative to non-cell cycle genes. Our bulk-RNAseq analysis using the doxycycline-inducible Etv2 ES/EB system showed increased levels of cell cycle genes including E2f4 and Ccne1 as early as 6 h following Etv2 induction. Further, EdU-incorporation studies demonstrated that the induction of Etv2 resulted in a ~2.5-fold increase in cellular proliferation, supporting a proliferative role for Etv2 during differentiation. Next, we identified Yes1 as the top-ranked candidate that was expressed in Etv2-EYFP+ cells at E7.75 and E8.25 using single cell RNA-seq analysis. Doxycycline-mediated induction of Etv2 led to an increase in Yes1 transcripts in a dose-dependent fashion. In contrast, the level of Yes1 was reduced in Etv2 null embryoid bodies. Using bioinformatics algorithms, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques, we show that Etv2 binds to the promoter region of Yes1 and functions as a direct upstream transcriptional regulator of Yes1 during embryogenesis. These studies enhance our understanding of the mechanisms whereby Etv2 governs mesodermal fate decisions early during embryogenesis.
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© 2019, The Author(s).