[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) silence transposons and maintain genome integrity during germline development. In Drosophila, transposon-rich heterochromatic clusters encode piRNAs either on both genomic strands (dual-strand clusters) or predominantly one genomic strand (uni-strand clusters). Primary piRNAs derived from these clusters are proposed to drive a ping-pong amplification cycle catalyzed by proteins that localize to the perinuclear nuage. We show that the HP1 homolog Rhino is required for nuage organization, transposon silencing, and ping-pong amplification of piRNAs. rhi mutations virtually eliminate piRNAs from the dual-strand clusters and block production of putative precursor RNAs from both strands of the major 42AB dual-strand cluster, but not of transcripts or piRNAs from the uni-strand clusters. Furthermore, Rhino protein associates with the 42AB dual-strand cluster,but does not bind to uni-strand cluster 2 or flamenco. Rhino thus appears to promote transcription of dual-strand clusters, leading to production of piRNAs that drive the ping-pong amplification cycle.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) silence transposons in animal germ cells. piRNAs are thought to derive from long transcripts spanning transposon-rich genomic loci and to direct an autoamplification loop in which an antisense piRNA, bound to Aubergine or Piwi protein, triggers production of a sense piRNA bound to the PIWI protein Argonaute3 (Ago3). In turn, the new piRNA is envisioned to produce a second antisense piRNA. Here, we describe strong loss-of-function mutations in ago3, allowing a direct genetic test of this model. We find that Ago3 acts to amplify piRNA pools and to enforce on them an antisense bias, increasing the number of piRNAs that can act to silence transposons. We also detect a second, Ago3-independent piRNA pathway centered on Piwi. Transposons targeted by this second pathway often reside in the flamenco locus, which is expressed in somatic ovarian follicle cells, suggesting a role for piRNAs beyond the germline.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The identification of regulatory elements from different cell types is necessary for understanding the mechanisms controlling cell type-specific and housekeeping gene expression. Mapping DNaseI hypersensitive (HS) sites is an accurate method for identifying the location of functional regulatory elements. We used a high throughput method called DNase-chip to identify 3,904 DNaseI HS sites from six cell types across 1% of the human genome. A significant number (22%) of DNaseI HS sites from each cell type are ubiquitously present among all cell types studied. Surprisingly, nearly all of these ubiquitous DNaseI HS sites correspond to either promoters or insulator elements: 86% of them are located near annotated transcription start sites and 10% are bound by CTCF, a protein with known enhancer-blocking insulator activity. We also identified a large number of DNaseI HS sites that are cell type specific (only present in one cell type); these regions are enriched for enhancer elements and correlate with cell type-specific gene expression as well as cell type-specific histone modifications. Finally, we found that approximately 8% of the genome overlaps a DNaseI HS site in at least one the six cell lines studied, indicating that a significant percentage of the genome is potentially functional.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A set of 723 high-quality human core promoter sequences were compiled and analyzed for overrepresented motifs. Beside the two well-characterized core promoter motifs (TATA and Inr), several known motifs (YY1, Sp1, NRF-1, NRF-2, CAAT, and CREB) and one potentially new motif (motif8) were found. Interestingly, YY1 and motif8 mostly reside immediately downstream from the TSS. In particular, the YY1 motif occurs primarily in genes with 5'-UTRs shorter than 40 base pairs (bp) and its locations coincide with the translation start site. We verified that the YY1 motif is bound by YY1 in vitro. We then performed detailed analysis on YY1 chromatin immunoprecipitation data with a whole-genome human promoter microarray (ChIP-chip) and revealed that the thus identified promoters in HeLa cells were highly enriched with the YY1 motif. Moreover, the motif overlapped with the translation start sites on the plus strand of a group of genes, many with short 5'-UTRs, and with the transcription start sites on the minus strand of another distinct group of genes; together, the two groups of genes accounted for the majority of the YY1-bound promoters in the ChIP-chip data. Furthermore, the first group of genes was highly enriched in the functional categories of ribosomal proteins and nuclear-encoded mitochondria proteins. We suggest that the YY1 motif plays a dual role in both transcription and translation initiation of these genes. We also discuss the evolutionary advantages of housing a transcriptional element inside the transcript in terms of the migration of these genes in the human genome.
Genome Research 07/2007; 17(6):798-806. · 14.40 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bidirectional promoters have received considerable attention because of their ability to regulate two downstream genes (divergent genes). They are also highly abundant, directing the transcription of approximately 11% of genes in the human genome. We categorized the presence of DNA sequence motifs, binding of transcription factors, and modified histones as overrepresented, shared, or underrepresented in bidirectional promoters with respect to unidirectional promoters. We found that a small set of motifs, including GABPA, MYC, E2F1, E2F4, NRF-1, CCAAT, YY1, and ACTACAnnTCC are overrepresented in bidirectional promoters, while the majority (73%) of known vertebrate motifs are underrepresented. We performed chromatin-immunoprecipitation (ChIP), followed by quantitative PCR for GABPA, on 118 regions in the human genome and showed that it binds to bidirectional promoters more frequently than unidirectional promoters, and its position-specific scoring matrix is highly predictive of binding. Signatures of active transcription, such as occupancy of RNA polymerase II and the modified histones H3K4me2, H3K4me3, and H3ac, are overrepresented in regions around bidirectional promoters, suggesting that a higher fraction of divergent genes are transcribed in a given cell than the fraction of other genes. Accordingly, analysis of whole-genome microarray data indicates that 68% of divergent genes are transcribed compared with 44% of all human genes. By combining the analysis of publicly available ENCODE data and a detailed study of GABPA, we survey bidirectional promoters with breadth and depth, leading to biological insights concerning their motif composition and bidirectional regulatory mode.
Genome Research 07/2007; 17(6):818-27. · 14.40 Impact Factor