Chromatin state signatures associated with tissue-specific gene expression and enhancer activity in the embryonic limb.

Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
Genome Research (Impact Factor: 13.85). 03/2012; 22(6):1069-80. DOI: 10.1101/gr.129817.111
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The regulatory elements that direct tissue-specific gene expression in the developing mammalian embryo remain largely unknown. Although chromatin profiling has proven to be a powerful method for mapping regulatory sequences in cultured cells, chromatin states characteristic of active developmental enhancers have not been directly identified in embryonic tissues. Here we use whole-transcriptome analysis coupled with genome-wide profiling of H3K27ac and H3K27me3 to map chromatin states and enhancers in mouse embryonic forelimb and hindlimb. We show that gene-expression differences between forelimb and hindlimb, and between limb and other embryonic cell types, are correlated with tissue-specific H3K27ac signatures at promoters and distal sites. Using H3K27ac profiles, we identified 28,377 putative enhancers, many of which are likely to be limb specific based on strong enrichment near genes highly expressed in the limb and comparisons with tissue-specific EP300 sites and known enhancers. We describe a chromatin state signature associated with active developmental enhancers, defined by high levels of H3K27ac marking, nucleosome displacement, hypersensitivity to sonication, and strong depletion of H3K27me3. We also find that some developmental enhancers exhibit components of this signature, including hypersensitivity, H3K27ac enrichment, and H3K27me3 depletion, at lower levels in tissues in which they are not active. Our results establish histone modification profiling as a tool for developmental enhancer discovery, and suggest that enhancers maintain an open chromatin state in multiple embryonic tissues independent of their activity level.

Download full-text


Available from: Justin Cotney, Jun 27, 2015
1 Follower
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The limb is widely used as a model developmental system and changes to gene expression patterns in its signaling centers, notably the zone of polarizing activity (ZPA) and the apical ectodermal ridge (AER), are known to cause limb malformations and evolutionary differences in limb morphology. Although several genes that define these limb signaling centers have been described, the identification of regulatory elements that are active within these centers has been limited. By dissecting mouse E11.5 limbs that fluorescently mark the ZPA or AER, followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and low-cell H3K27ac ChIP-seq, we identified thousands of specific signaling-center enhancers. Our ChIP-seq datasets show strong correlation with ZPA- and AER-expressed genes, previously characterized functional ZPA and AER enhancers and enrichment for relevant biological terms related to limb development and malformation for the neighboring genes. Using transgenic assays, we show that several of these sequences function as ZPA and AER enhancers. Our results identify novel ZPA and AER enhancers that could be important regulators of genes involved in the establishment of these specialized regions and the patterning of tetrapod limbs.
    Development 10/2014; 141(21). DOI:10.1242/dev.110965 · 6.27 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The evolution of human anatomical features likely involved changes in gene regulation during development. However, the nature and extent of human-specific developmental regulatory functions remain unknown. We obtained a genome-wide view of cis-regulatory evolution in human embryonic tissues by comparing the histone modification H3K27ac, which provides a quantitative readout of promoter and enhancer activity, during human, rhesus, and mouse limb development. Based on increased H3K27ac, we find that 13% of promoters and 11% of enhancers have gained activity on the human lineage since the human-rhesus divergence. These gains largely arose by modification of ancestral regulatory activities in the limb or potential co-option from other tissues and are likely to have heterogeneous genetic causes. Most enhancers that exhibit gain of activity in humans originated in mammals. Gains at promoters and enhancers in the human limb are associated with increased gene expression, suggesting they include molecular drivers of human morphological evolution.
    Cell 07/2013; 154(1):185-96. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2013.05.056 · 33.12 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Protein lysine acetyltransferases (HATs or PATs) acetylate histones and other proteins, and are principally modeled as transcriptional coactivators. CREB binding protein (CBP, CREBBP) and its paralog p300 (EP300) constitute the KAT3 family of HATs in mammals, which has mostly unique sequence identity compared to other HAT families. Although studies in yeast show that many histone mutations cause modest or specific phenotypes, similar studies are impractical in mammals and it remains uncertain if histone acetylation is the primary physiological function for CBP/p300. Nonetheless, CBP and p300 mutations in humans and mice show that these coactivators have important roles in development, physiology, and disease, possibly because CBP and p300 act as network "hubs" with more than 400 described protein interaction partners. Analysis of CBP and p300 mutant mouse fibroblasts reveals CBP/p300 are together chiefly responsible for the global acetylation of histone H3 residues K18 and K27, and contribute to other locus-specific histone acetylation events. CBP/p300 can also be important for transcription, but the recruitment of CBP/p300 and their associated histone acetylation marks do not absolutely correlate with a requirement for gene activation. Rather, it appears that target gene context (e.g. DNA sequence) influences the extent to which CBP and p300 are necessary for transcription.
    Aging 04/2012; 4(4):247-55. · 4.89 Impact Factor