Nature破解系统生物学大难题 09:44:37)





本期Nature Genetics上的三篇文章的发布者都属于FANTOM项目实验室,第一个研究小组鉴定出一系列的动物基因转录起始位点,这一研究属于FANTOM4项目,目前已经鉴定了人类,鸡和果蝇的转录起始位点的小RNA,大小在18nt左右。





Tiny RNAs associated with transcription start sites in animals


It has been reported that relatively short RNAs of heterogeneous sizes are derived from sequences near the promoters of eukaryotic genes. In conjunction with the FANTOM4 project, we have identified tiny RNAs with a modal length of 18 nt that map within -60 to +120 nt of transcription start sites (TSSs) in human, chicken and Drosophila. These transcription initiation RNAs (tiRNAs) are derived from sequences on the same strand as the TSS and are preferentially associated with G+C-rich promoters. The 5' ends of tiRNAs show peak density 10–30 nt downstream of TSSs, indicating that they are processed. tiRNAs are generally, although not exclusively, associated with highly expressed transcripts and sites of RNA polymerase II binding. We suggest that tiRNAs may be a general feature of transcription in metazoa and possibly all eukaryotes.


The regulated retrotransposon transcriptome of mammalian cells


Although repetitive elements pervade mammalian genomes, their overall contribution to transcriptional activity is poorly defined. Here, as part of the FANTOM4 project, we report that 6–30% of cap-selected mouse and human RNA transcripts initiate within repetitive elements. Analysis of approximately 250,000 retrotransposon-derived transcription start sites shows that the associated transcripts are generally tissue specific, coincide with gene-dense regions and form pronounced clusters when aligned to full-length retrotransposon sequences. Retrotransposons located immediately 5' of protein-coding loci frequently function as alternative promoters and/or express noncoding RNAs. More than a quarter of RefSeqs possess a retrotransposon in their 3' UTR, with strong evidence for the reduced expression of these transcripts relative to retrotransposon-free transcripts. Finally, a genome-wide screen identifies 23,000 candidate regulatory regions derived from retrotransposons, in addition to more than 2,000 examples of bidirectional transcription. We conclude that retrotransposon transcription has a key influence upon the transcriptional output of the mammalian genome.


The transcriptional network that controls growth arrest and differentiation in a human myeloid leukemia cell line


Using deep sequencing (deepCAGE), the FANTOM4 study measured the genome-wide dynamics of transcription-start-site usage in the human monocytic cell line THP-1 throughout a time course of growth arrest and differentiation. Modeling the expression dynamics in terms of predicted cis-regulatory sites, we identified the key transcription regulators, their time-dependent activities and target genes. Systematic siRNA knockdown of 52 transcription factors confirmed the roles of individual factors in the regulatory network. Our results indicate that cellular states are constrained by complex networks involving both positive and negative regulatory interactions among substantial numbers of transcription factors and that no single transcription factor is both necessary and sufficient to drive the differentiation process.