Ji-Eun Lee (NIH)| Young-Kwon Park (NIH)| Kai Ge (NIH)
Cell type-specific enhancers are activated by coordinated actions of lineage-determining transcription factors (LDTFs) and chromatin regulators. The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex BAF and the histone H3K4 methyltransferase MLL4 (KMT2D) are both implicated in enhancer activation. However, the interplay between BAF and MLL4 in enhancer activation remains unclear. Using adipogenesis as a model system, we identify BAF as the major SWI/SNF complex that colocalizes with MLL4 and LDTFs on active enhancers and is required for cell differentiation. In contrast, the promoter enriched SWI/SNF complex PBAF is dispensable for adipogenesis. By depleting BAF subunits SMARCA4 (BRG1) and SMARCB1 (SNF5) as well as MLL4 in cells, we show that BAF and MLL4 reciprocally regulate each other’s binding on active enhancers before and during adipogenesis. By focusing on enhancer activation by the adipogenic pioneer transcription factor C/EBPβ without inducing cell differentiation, we provide direct evidence for an interdependent relationship between BAF and MLL4 in activating cell type-specific enhancers. Together, these findings reveal a positive feedback between BAF and MLL4 in promoting LDTF-dependent activation of cell type-specific enhancers.