Chromatin poises miRNA- and protein-coding genes for expression.

Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Genome Research (Impact Factor: 13.85). 09/2009; 19(10):1742-51. DOI: 10.1101/gr.090951.109
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Chromatin modifications have been implicated in the regulation of gene expression. While association of certain modifications with expressed or silent genes has been established, it remains unclear how changes in chromatin environment relate to changes in gene expression. In this article, we used ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation with massively parallel sequencing) to analyze the genome-wide changes in chromatin modifications during activation of total human CD4(+) T cells by T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling. Surprisingly, we found that the chromatin modification patterns at many induced and silenced genes are relatively stable during the short-term activation of resting T cells. Active chromatin modifications were already in place for a majority of inducible protein-coding genes, even while the genes were silent in resting cells. Similarly, genes that were silenced upon T-cell activation retained positive chromatin modifications even after being silenced. To investigate if these observations are also valid for miRNA-coding genes, we systematically identified promoters for known miRNA genes using epigenetic marks and profiled their expression patterns using deep sequencing. We found that chromatin modifications can poise miRNA-coding genes as well. Our data suggest that miRNA- and protein-coding genes share similar mechanisms of regulation by chromatin modifications, which poise inducible genes for activation in response to environmental stimuli.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A large fraction of microRNAs (miRNAs) are derived from intergenic non-coding loci and the identification of their promoters remains 'elusive'. Here, we present microTSS, a machine-learning algorithm that provides highly accurate, single-nucleotide resolution predictions for intergenic miRNA transcription start sites (TSSs). MicroTSS integrates high-resolution RNA-sequencing data with active transcription marks derived from chromatin immunoprecipitation and DNase-sequencing to enable the characterization of tissue-specific promoters. MicroTSS is validated with a specifically designed Drosha-null/conditional-null mouse model, generated using the conditional by inversion (COIN) methodology. Analyses of global run-on sequencing data revealed numerous pri-miRNAs in human and mouse either originating from divergent transcription at promoters of active genes or partially overlapping with annotated long non-coding RNAs. MicroTSS is readily applicable to any cell or tissue samples and constitutes the missing part towards integrating the regulation of miRNA transcription into the modelling of tissue-specific regulatory networks.
    Nature Communications 12/2014; 5:5700. DOI:10.1038/ncomms6700 · 10.74 Impact Factor
  • 01/2013; 01(S12). DOI:10.4172/2155-9899.S12-007
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Author Summary microRNAs are integral to many developmental processes and may 'canalise' development by reducing cell-to-cell variation in gene expression. This idea is supported by computational studies that have modeled the impact of microRNAs on the expression of their targets and the construction of artificial incoherent feedforward loops using synthetic biology tools. Here we show that this interesting principle of microRNA regulation actually occurs in a mammalian developmental system. We examine cell-to-cell variation of protein expression in developing mouse thymocytes by quantitative flow cytometry and find that the absence of microRNAs results in increased cell-to-cell variation in the expression of the microRNA target Cd69. Mechanistically, T cell receptor signaling induces both Cd69 and miR-17 and miR-20a, two microRNAs that target Cd69. Co-regulation of microRNAs and their target mRNA dampens the expression of Cd69 and forms an incoherent feedforward loop that reduces cell-to-cell variation on CD69 expression. In addition, miR-181, which also targets Cd69 and is a known modulator of T cell receptor signaling, also affects cell-to-cell variation of CD69 expression. The ability of microRNAs to control the uniformity of gene expression across mammalian cell populations may be important for normal development and for disease.
    PLoS Genetics 02/2015; 11(2):e1005020. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005020 · 8.17 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 22, 2014