2016 May 18
Many human large intergenic noncoding RNAs associate with chromatin-modifying complexes and affect gene expression. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A , 106 (28) , pp. 11667-72.Abstract, 2009.
We recently showed that the mammalian genome encodes >1,000 large intergenic noncoding (linc)RNAs that are clearly conserved across mammals and, thus, functional. Gene expression patterns have implicated these lincRNAs in diverse biological processes, including cell-cycle regulation, immune surveillance, and embryonic stem cell pluripotency. However, the mechanism by which these lincRNAs function is unknown. Here, we expand the catalog of human lincRNAs to approximately 3,300 by analyzing chromatin-state maps of various human cell types. Inspired by the observation that the well-characterized lincRNA HOTAIR binds the polycomb repressive complex (PRC)2, we tested whether many lincRNAs are physically associated with PRC2. Remarkably, we observe that approximately 20% of lincRNAs expressed in various cell types are bound by PRC2, and that additional lincRNAs are bound by other chromatin-modifying complexes. Also, we show that siRNA-mediated depletion of certain lincRNAs associated with PRC2 leads to changes in gene expression, and that the up-regulated genes are enriched for those normally silenced by PRC2. We propose a model in which some lincRNAs guide chromatin-modifying complexes to specific genomic loci to regulate gene expression.
Large intergenic non-coding RNA-RoR modulates reprogramming of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Nat Genet , 42 (12) , pp. 1113-7.Abstract, 2010.
The conversion of lineage-committed cells to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) by reprogramming is accompanied by a global remodeling of the epigenome, resulting in altered patterns of gene expression. Here we characterize the transcriptional reorganization of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) that occurs upon derivation of human iPSCs and identify numerous lincRNAs whose expression is linked to pluripotency. Among these, we defined ten lincRNAs whose expression was elevated in iPSCs compared with embryonic stem cells, suggesting that their activation may promote the emergence of iPSCs. Supporting this, our results indicate that these lincRNAs are direct targets of key pluripotency transcription factors. Using loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches, we found that one such lincRNA (lincRNA-RoR) modulates reprogramming, thus providing a first demonstration for critical functions of lincRNAs in the derivation of pluripotent stem cells.
The dynamics and regulators of cell fate decisions are revealed by pseudotemporal ordering of single cells. Nat Biotechnol , 32 (4) , pp. 381-6.Abstract, 2014.
Defining the transcriptional dynamics of a temporal process such as cell differentiation is challenging owing to the high variability in gene expression between individual cells. Time-series gene expression analyses of bulk cells have difficulty distinguishing early and late phases of a transcriptional cascade or identifying rare subpopulations of cells, and single-cell proteomic methods rely on a priori knowledge of key distinguishing markers. Here we describe Monocle, an unsupervised algorithm that increases the temporal resolution of transcriptome dynamics using single-cell RNA-Seq data collected at multiple time points. Applied to the differentiation of primary human myoblasts, Monocle revealed switch-like changes in expression of key regulatory factors, sequential waves of gene regulation, and expression of regulators that were not known to act in differentiation. We validated some of these predicted regulators in a loss-of function screen. Monocle can in principle be used to recover single-cell gene expression kinetics from a wide array of cellular processes, including differentiation, proliferation and oncogenic transformation.
Multiple knockout mouse models reveal lincRNAs are required for life and brain development. Elife , 2 , pp. e01749.Abstract, 2013.
Many studies are uncovering functional roles for long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), yet few have been tested for in vivo relevance through genetic ablation in animal models. To investigate the functional relevance of lncRNAs in various physiological conditions, we have developed a collection of 18 lncRNA knockout strains in which the locus is maintained transcriptionally active. Initial characterization revealed peri- and postnatal lethal phenotypes in three mutant strains (Fendrr, Peril, and Mdgt), the latter two exhibiting incomplete penetrance and growth defects in survivors. We also report growth defects for two additional mutant strains (linc-Brn1b and linc-Pint). Further analysis revealed defects in lung, gastrointestinal tract, and heart in Fendrr(-/-) neonates, whereas linc-Brn1b(-/-) mutants displayed distinct abnormalities in the generation of upper layer II-IV neurons in the neocortex. This study demonstrates that lncRNAs play critical roles in vivo and provides a framework and impetus for future larger-scale functional investigation into the roles of lncRNA molecules. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.01749.001.
Widespread RNA binding by chromatin-associated proteins. Genome Biol , 17 (1) , pp. 28.Abstract, 2016.
BACKGROUND: Recent evidence suggests that RNA interaction can regulate the activity and localization of chromatin-associated proteins. However, it is unknown if these observations are specialized instances for a few key RNAs and chromatin factors in specific contexts, or a general mechanism underlying the establishment of chromatin state and regulation of gene expression. RESULTS: Here, we perform formaldehyde RNA immunoprecipitation (fRIP-Seq) to survey the RNA associated with a panel of 24 chromatin regulators and traditional RNA binding proteins. For each protein that reproducibly bound measurable quantities of bulk RNA (90 % of the panel), we detect enrichment for hundreds to thousands of both noncoding and mRNA transcripts. CONCLUSION: For each protein, we find that the enriched sets of RNAs share distinct biochemical, functional, and chromatin properties. Thus, these data provide evidence for widespread specific and relevant RNA association across diverse classes of chromatin-modifying complexes.
Integrative annotation of human large intergenic noncoding RNAs reveals global properties and specific subclasses. Genes Dev , 25 (18) , pp. 1915-27.Abstract, 2011.
Large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) are emerging as key regulators of diverse cellular processes. Determining the function of individual lincRNAs remains a challenge. Recent advances in RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and computational methods allow for an unprecedented analysis of such transcripts. Here, we present an integrative approach to define a reference catalog of >8000 human lincRNAs. Our catalog unifies previously existing annotation sources with transcripts we assembled from RNA-seq data collected from ∼4 billion RNA-seq reads across 24 tissues and cell types. We characterize each lincRNA by a panorama of >30 properties, including sequence, structural, transcriptional, and orthology features. We found that lincRNA expression is strikingly tissue-specific compared with coding genes, and that lincRNAs are typically coexpressed with their neighboring genes, albeit to an extent similar to that of pairs of neighboring protein-coding genes. We distinguish an additional subset of transcripts that have high evolutionary conservation but may include short ORFs and may serve as either lincRNAs or small peptides. Our integrated, comprehensive, yet conservative reference catalog of human lincRNAs reveals the global properties of lincRNAs and will facilitate experimental studies and further functional classification of these genes.
Multiplexable, locus-specific targeting of long RNAs with CRISPR-Display. Nat Methods , 12 (7) , pp. 664-70.Abstract, 2015.
Noncoding RNAs play diverse roles throughout biology and exhibit broad functional capacity. To investigate and harness these capabilities, we developed clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-Display (CRISP-Disp), a targeted localization method that uses Cas9 to deploy large RNA cargos to DNA loci. We demonstrate that functional RNA domains up to at least 4.8 kb long can be inserted in CRISPR guide RNA at multiple points, allowing the construction of Cas9 complexes with protein-binding cassettes, artificial aptamers, pools of random sequences and natural long noncoding RNAs. A unique feature of CRISP-Disp is the multiplexing of distinct functions at multiple targets, limited only by the availability of functional RNA motifs. We anticipate the use of CRISP-Disp for ectopically targeting functional RNAs and ribonucleoprotein (RNP) complexes to genomic loci.
A large intergenic noncoding RNA induced by p53 mediates global gene repression in the p53 response. Cell , 142 (3) , pp. 409-19.Abstract, 2010.
Recently, more than 1000 large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) have been reported. These RNAs are evolutionarily conserved in mammalian genomes and thus presumably function in diverse biological processes. Here, we report the identification of lincRNAs that are regulated by p53. One of these lincRNAs (lincRNA-p21) serves as a repressor in p53-dependent transcriptional responses. Inhibition of lincRNA-p21 affects the expression of hundreds of gene targets enriched for genes normally repressed by p53. The observed transcriptional repression by lincRNA-p21 is mediated through the physical association with hnRNP-K. This interaction is required for proper genomic localization of hnRNP-K at repressed genes and regulation of p53 mediates apoptosis. We propose a model whereby transcription factors activate lincRNAs that serve as key repressors by physically associating with repressive complexes and modulate their localization to sets of previously active genes.
Topological organization of multichromosomal regions by the long intergenic noncoding RNA Firre. Nat Struct Mol Biol , 21 (2) , pp. 198-206.Abstract, 2014.
RNA, including long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), is known to be an abundant and important structural component of the nuclear matrix. However, the molecular identities, functional roles and localization dynamics of lncRNAs that influence nuclear architecture remain poorly understood. Here, we describe one lncRNA, Firre, that interacts with the nuclear-matrix factor hnRNPU through a 156-bp repeating sequence and localizes across an ~5-Mb domain on the X chromosome. We further observed Firre localization across five distinct trans-chromosomal loci, which reside in spatial proximity to the Firre genomic locus on the X chromosome. Both genetic deletion of the Firre locus and knockdown of hnRNPU resulted in loss of colocalization of these trans-chromosomal interacting loci. Thus, our data suggest a model in which lncRNAs such as Firre can interface with and modulate nuclear architecture across chromosomes.
Transposable elements reveal a stem cell-specific class of long noncoding RNAs. Genome Biol , 13 (11) , pp. R107.Abstract, 2012.
BACKGROUND: Numerous studies over the past decade have elucidated a large set of long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) in the human genome. Research since has shown that lincRNAs constitute an important layer of genome regulation across a wide spectrum of species. However, the factors governing their evolution and origins remain relatively unexplored. One possible factor driving lincRNA evolution and biological function is transposable element (TE) insertions. Here, we comprehensively characterize the TE content of lincRNAs relative to genomic averages and protein coding transcripts. RESULTS: Our analysis of the TE composition of 9,241 human lincRNAs revealed that, in sharp contrast to protein coding genes, 83% of lincRNAs contain a TE, and TEs comprise 42% of lincRNA sequence. lincRNA TE composition varies significantly from genomic averages - L1 and Alu elements are depleted and broad classes of endogenous retroviruses are enriched. TEs occur in biased positions and orientations within lincRNAs, particularly at their transcription start sites, suggesting a role in lincRNA transcriptional regulation. Accordingly, we observed a dramatic example of HERVH transcriptional regulatory signals correlating strongly with stem cell-specific expression of lincRNAs. Conversely, lincRNAs devoid of TEs are expressed at greater levels than lincRNAs with TEs in all tissues and cell lines, particularly in the testis. CONCLUSIONS: TEs pervade lincRNAs, dividing them into classes, and may have shaped lincRNA evolution and function by conferring tissue-specific expression from extant transcriptional regulatory signals.
Spatiotemporal expression and transcriptional perturbations by long noncoding RNAs in the mouse brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A , 112 (22) , pp. 6855-62.Abstract, 2015.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been implicated in numerous cellular processes including brain development. However, the in vivo expression dynamics and molecular pathways regulated by these loci are not well understood. Here, we leveraged a cohort of 13 lncRNAnull mutant mouse models to investigate the spatiotemporal expression of lncRNAs in the developing and adult brain and the transcriptome alterations resulting from the loss of these lncRNA loci. We show that several lncRNAs are differentially expressed both in time and space, with some presenting highly restricted expression in only selected brain regions. We further demonstrate altered regulation of genes for a large variety of cellular pathways and processes upon deletion of the lncRNA loci. Finally, we found that 4 of the 13 lncRNAs significantly affect the expression of several neighboring proteincoding genes in a cis-like manner. By providing insight into the endogenous expression patterns and the transcriptional perturbations caused by deletion of the lncRNA locus in the developing and postnatal mammalian brain, these data provide a resource to facilitate future examination of the specific functional relevance of these genes in neural development, brain function, and disease.