BEND3 safeguards pluripotency by repressing differentiation-associated genes

Fredy Kurniawan, Neha Chetlangia, Mohammad Kamran, Christophe E. Redon, Lorinc Pongor, Qinyu Sun, Yo Chuen Lin, Vijay Mohan, Oways Shaqildi, Darya Asoudegi, Qinyu Hao, Abid Khan, Mirit I. Aladjem, Kannanganattu V. Prasanth, Supriya G. Prasanth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BEN domain–containing proteins are emerging rapidly as an important class of factors involved in modulating gene expression, yet the molecular basis of how they regulate chromatin function and transcription remains to be established. BEND3 is a quadruple BEN domain–containing protein that associates with heterochromatin and functions as a transcriptional repressor. We find that BEND3 is highly expressed in pluripotent cells, and the induction of differentiation results in the down-regulation of BEND3. The removal of BEND3 from pluripotent cells results in cells exhibiting upregulation of the differentiation-inducing gene expression signature. We find that BEND3 binds to the promoters of differentiation-associated factors and key cell cycle regulators, including CDKN1A, encoding the cell cycle inhibitor p21, and represses the expression of differentiation-associated genes by enhancing H3K27me3 decoration at these promoters. Our results support a model in which transcription repression mediated by BEND3 is essential for normal development and to prevent differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2107406119
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • BEND3
  • Differentiation
  • p21
  • Promoter
  • Transcription repression
  • differentiation
  • promoter
  • transcription repression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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