The human SWI/SNF complex associates with RUNX1 to control transcription of hematopoietic target genes.
The acute myeloid leukemia 1 (AML1, RUNX1) transcription factor is a key regulator of hematopoietic differentiation that forms multi-protein complexes with co-regulatory proteins. These complexes are assembled at target gene promoters in nuclear microenvironments to mediate phenotypic gene expression and chromatin-related epigenetic modifications. Here, immunofluorescence microscopy and biochemical assays are used to show that RUNX1 associates with the human ATP-dependent SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. The SWI/SNF subunits BRG1 and INI1 bind in vivo to RUNX1 target gene promoters (e.g., GMCSF, IL3, MCSF-R, MIP, and p21). These interactions correlate with histone modifications characteristic of active chromatin, including acetylated H4 and dimethylated H3 lysine 4. Downregulation of RUNX1 by RNA interference diminishes the binding of BRG1 and INI1 at selected target genes. Taken together, our findings indicate that RUNX1 interacts with the human SWI/SNF complex to control hematopoietic-specific gene expression.