Transposable elements are major contributors to the origin, diversification, and regulation of vertebrate long noncoding RNAs.
ABSTRACT: Advances in vertebrate genomics have uncovered thousands of loci encoding long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs). While progress has been made in elucidating the regulatory functions of lncRNAs, little is known about their origins and evolution. Here we explore the contribution of transposable elements (TEs) to the makeup and regulation of lncRNAs in human, mouse, and zebrafish. Surprisingly, TEs occur in more than two thirds of mature lncRNA transcripts and account for a substantial portion of total lncRNA sequence (~30% in human), whereas they seldom occur in protein-coding transcripts. While TEs contribute less to lncRNA exons than expected, several TE families are strongly enriched in lncRNAs. There is also substantial interspecific variation in the coverage and types of TEs embedded in lncRNAs, partially reflecting differences in the TE landscapes of the genomes surveyed. In human, TE sequences in lncRNAs evolve under greater evolutionary constraint than their non-TE sequences, than their intronic TEs, or than random DNA. Consistent with functional constraint, we found that TEs contribute signals essential for the biogenesis of many lncRNAs, including ~30,000 unique sites for transcription initiation, splicing, or polyadenylation in human. In addition, we identified ~35,000 TEs marked as open chromatin located within 10 kb upstream of lncRNA genes. The density of these marks in one cell type correlate with elevated expression of the downstream lncRNA in the same cell type, suggesting that these TEs contribute to cis-regulation. These global trends are recapitulated in several lncRNAs with established functions. Finally a subset of TEs embedded in lncRNAs are subject to RNA editing and predicted to form secondary structures likely important for function. In conclusion, TEs are nearly ubiquitous in lncRNAs and have played an important role in the lineage-specific diversification of vertebrate lncRNA repertoires.
Project description:It has been recently suggested that transposable elements (TEs) are re-used as functional elements of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). This is supported by some examples such as the human endogenous retrovirus subfamily H (HERVH) elements contained within lncRNAs and expressed specifically in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), as required to maintain hESC identity. There are at least two unanswered questions about all lncRNAs. How many TEs are re-used within lncRNAs? Are there any other TEs that affect tissue specificity of lncRNA expression? To answer these questions, we comprehensively identify TEs that are significantly related to tissue-specific expression levels of lncRNAs. We downloaded lncRNA expression data corresponding to normal human tissue from the Expression Atlas and transformed the data into tissue specificity estimates. Then, Fisher's exact tests were performed to verify whether the presence or absence of TE-derived sequences influences the tissue specificity of lncRNA expression. Many TE-tissue pairs associated with tissue-specific expression of lncRNAs were detected, indicating that multiple TE families can be re-used as functional domains or regulatory sequences of lncRNAs. In particular, we found that the antisense promoter region of L1PA2, a LINE-1 subfamily, appears to act as a promoter for lncRNAs with placenta-specific expression.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) compose about half of the mammalian genome and, as embedded sequences, up to 40% of long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) transcripts. Embedded TEs may represent functional domains within lncRNAs, providing a structured RNA platform for protein interaction. Here we show the interactome profile of the mouse inverted short interspersed nuclear element (SINE) of subfamily B2 (invSINEB2) alone and embedded in antisense (AS) ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase L1 (Uchl1), an lncRNA that is AS to Uchl1 gene. AS Uchl1 is the representative member of a functional class of AS lncRNAs, named SINEUPs, in which the invSINEB2 acts as effector domain (ED)-enhancing translation of sense protein-coding mRNAs. By using RNA-interacting domainome technology, we identify the IL enhancer-binding factor 3 (ILF3) as a protein partner of AS Uchl1 RNA. We determine that this interaction is mediated by the RNA-binding motif 2 of ILF3 and the invSINEB2. Furthermore, we show that ILF3 is able to bind a free right Arthrobacter luteus (Alu) monomer sequence, the embedded TE acting as ED in human SINEUPs. Bioinformatic analysis of Encyclopedia of DNA Elements-enhanced cross-linking immunoprecipitation data reveals that ILF3 binds transcribed human SINE sequences at transcriptome-wide levels. We then demonstrate that the embedded TEs modulate AS Uchl1 RNA nuclear localization to an extent moderately influenced by ILF3. This work unveils the existence of a specific interaction between embedded TEs and an RNA-binding protein, strengthening the model of TEs as functional modules in lncRNAs.-Fasolo, F., Patrucco, L., Volpe, M., Bon, C., Peano, C., Mignone, F., Carninci, P., Persichetti, F., Santoro, C., Zucchelli, S., Sblattero, D., Sanges, R., Cotella, D., Gustincich, S. The RNA-binding protein ILF3 binds to transposable element sequences in SINEUP lncRNAs.
Project description:The sequence domains underlying long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) activities, including their characteristic nuclear enrichment, remain largely unknown. It has been proposed that these domains can originate from neofunctionalized fragments of transposable elements (TEs), otherwise known as RIDLs (repeat insertion domains of lncRNA), although just a handful have been identified. It is challenging to distinguish functional RIDL instances against a numerous genomic background of neutrally evolving TEs. We here show evidence that a subset of TE types experience evolutionary selection in the context of lncRNA exons. Together these comprise an enrichment group of 5374 TE fragments in 3566 loci. Their host lncRNAs tend to be functionally validated and associated with disease. This RIDL group was used to explore the relationship between TEs and lncRNA subcellular localization. By using global localization data from 10 human cell lines, we uncover a dose-dependent relationship between nuclear/cytoplasmic distribution and evolutionarily conserved L2b, MIRb, and MIRc elements. This is observed in multiple cell types and is unaffected by confounders of transcript length or expression. Experimental validation with engineered transgenes shows that these TEs drive nuclear enrichment in a natural sequence context. Together these data reveal a role for TEs in regulating the subcellular localization of lncRNAs.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Several studies have mined short-read RNA sequencing datasets to identify long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs), and others have focused on the function of individual lncRNAs in abiotic stress response. However, our understanding of the complement, function and origin of lncRNAs - and especially transposon derived lncRNAs (TE-lncRNAs) - in response to abiotic stress is still in its infancy. RESULTS:We utilized a dataset of 127 RNA sequencing samples that included total RNA datasets and PacBio fl-cDNA data to discover lncRNAs in maize. Overall, we identified 23,309 candidate lncRNAs from polyA+ and total RNA samples, with a strong discovery bias within total RNA. The majority (65%) of the 23,309 lncRNAs had sequence similarity to transposable elements (TEs). Most had similarity to long-terminal-repeat retrotransposons from the Copia and Gypsy superfamilies, reflecting a high proportion of these elements in the genome. However, DNA transposons were enriched for lncRNAs relative to their genomic representation by ~?2-fold. By assessing the fraction of lncRNAs that respond to abiotic stresses like heat, cold, salt and drought, we identified 1077 differentially expressed lncRNA transcripts, including 509 TE-lncRNAs. In general, the expression of these lncRNAs was significantly correlated with their nearest gene. By inferring co-expression networks across our large dataset, we found that 39 lncRNAs are as major hubs in co-expression networks that respond to abiotic stress, and 18 appear to be derived from TEs. CONCLUSIONS:Our results show that lncRNAs are enriched in total RNA samples, that most (65%) are derived from TEs, that at least 1077 are differentially expressed during abiotic stress, and that 39 are hubs in co-expression networks, including a small number that are evolutionary conserved. These results suggest that lncRNAs, including TE-lncRNAs, may play key regulatory roles in moderating abiotic responses.
Project description:Pervasive transcription of mammalian genomes leads to a previously underestimated level of complexity in gene regulatory networks. Recently, we have identified a new functional class of natural and synthetic antisense long non-coding RNAs (lncRNA) that increases translation of partially overlapping sense mRNAs. These molecules were named SINEUPs, as they require an embedded inverted SINE B2 element for their UP-regulation of translation. Mouse AS Uchl1 is the representative member of natural SINEUPs. It was originally discovered for its role in increasing translation of Uchl1 mRNA, a gene associated with neurodegenerative diseases. Here we present the secondary structure of the SINE B2 Transposable Element (TE) embedded in AS Uchl1. We find that specific structural regions, containing a short hairpin, are required for the ability of AS Uchl1 RNA to increase translation of its target mRNA. We also provide a high-resolution structure of the relevant hairpin, based on NMR observables. Our results highlight the importance of structural determinants in embedded TEs for their activity as functional domains in lncRNAs.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) have been proposed to play an important role in driving the expansion of gene regulatory networks during mammalian evolution, notably by contributing to the evolution and function of long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). XACT is a primate-specific TE-derived lncRNA that coats active X chromosomes in pluripotent cells and may contribute to species-specific regulation of X-chromosome inactivation. Here we explore how different families of TEs have contributed to shaping the XACT locus and coupling its expression to pluripotency. Through a combination of sequence analysis across primates, transcriptional interference, and genome editing, we identify a critical enhancer for the regulation of the XACT locus that evolved from an ancestral group of mammalian endogenous retroviruses (ERVs), prior to the emergence of XACT. This ERV was hijacked by younger hominoid-specific ERVs that gave rise to the promoter of XACT, thus wiring its expression to the pluripotency network. This work illustrates how retroviral-derived sequences may intervene in species-specific regulatory pathways.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) have been shown to contain functional binding sites for certain transcription factors (TFs). However, the extent to which TEs contribute to the evolution of TF binding sites is not well known. We comprehensively mapped binding sites for 26 pairs of orthologous TFs in two pairs of human and mouse cell lines (representing two cell lineages), along with epigenomic profiles, including DNA methylation and six histone modifications. Overall, we found that 20% of binding sites were embedded within TEs. This number varied across different TFs, ranging from 2% to 40%. We further identified 710 TF-TE relationships in which genomic copies of a TE subfamily contributed a significant number of binding peaks for a TF, and we found that LTR elements dominated these relationships in human. Importantly, TE-derived binding peaks were strongly associated with open and active chromatin signatures, including reduced DNA methylation and increased enhancer-associated histone marks. On average, 66% of TE-derived binding events were cell type-specific with a cell type-specific epigenetic landscape. Most of the binding sites contributed by TEs were species-specific, but we also identified binding sites conserved between human and mouse, the functional relevance of which was supported by a signature of purifying selection on DNA sequences of these TEs. Interestingly, several TFs had significantly expanded binding site landscapes only in one species, which were linked to species-specific gene functions, suggesting that TEs are an important driving force for regulatory innovation. Taken together, our data suggest that TEs have significantly and continuously shaped gene regulatory networks during mammalian evolution.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) are major components of vertebrate genomes, with major roles in genome architecture and evolution. In order to characterize both common patterns and lineage-specific differences in TE content and TE evolution, we have compared the mobilomes of 23 vertebrate genomes, including 10 actinopterygian fish, 11 sarcopterygians, and 2 nonbony vertebrates. We found important variations in TE content (from 6% in the pufferfish tetraodon to 55% in zebrafish), with a more important relative contribution of TEs to genome size in fish than in mammals. Some TE superfamilies were found to be widespread in vertebrates, but most elements showed a more patchy distribution, indicative of multiple events of loss or gain. Interestingly, loss of major TE families was observed during the evolution of the sarcopterygian lineage, with a particularly strong reduction in TE diversity in birds and mammals. Phylogenetic trends in TE composition and activity were detected: Teleost fish genomes are dominated by DNA transposons and contain few ancient TE copies, while mammalian genomes have been predominantly shaped by nonlong terminal repeat retrotransposons, along with the persistence of older sequences. Differences were also found within lineages: The medaka fish genome underwent more recent TE amplification than the related platyfish, as observed for LINE retrotransposons in the mouse compared with the human genome. This study allows the identification of putative cases of horizontal transfer of TEs, and to tentatively infer the composition of the ancestral vertebrate mobilome. Taken together, the results obtained highlight the importance of TEs in the structure and evolution of vertebrate genomes, and demonstrate their major impact on genome diversity both between and within lineages.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) have significantly influenced the evolution of transcriptional regulatory networks in the human genome. Post-transcriptional regulation of human genes by TE-derived sequences has been observed in specific contexts, but has yet to be systematically and comprehensively investigated. Here, we study a collection of 75 CLIP-Seq experiments mapping the RNA binding sites for a diverse set of 51 human proteins to explore the role of TEs in post-transcriptional regulation of human mRNAs and lncRNAs via RNA-protein interactions.We detect widespread interactions between RNA binding proteins (RBPs) and many families of TE-derived sequence in the CLIP-Seq data. Further, alignment coverage peaks on specific positions of the TE consensus sequences, illuminating a diversity of TE-specific RBP binding motifs. Evidence of binding and conservation of these motifs in the nonrepetitive transcriptome suggests that TEs have generally appropriated existing sequence preferences of the RBPs. Depletion assays for numerous RBPs show that TE-derived binding sites affect transcript abundance and splicing similarly to nonrepetitive sites. However, in a few cases the effect of RBP binding depends on the specific TE family bound; for example, the ubiquitously expressed RBP HuR confers transcript stability unless bound to an Alu element.Our meta-analysis suggests a widespread role for TEs in shaping RNA-protein regulatory networks in the human genome.
Project description:Transposable elements (TEs) are selfish genetic elements that mobilize in genomes via transposition or retrotransposition and often make up large fractions of vertebrate genomes. Here, we review the current understanding of vertebrate TE diversity and evolution in the context of recent advances in genome sequencing and assembly techniques. TEs make up 4-60% of assembled vertebrate genomes, and deeply branching lineages such as ray-finned fishes and amphibians generally exhibit a higher TE diversity than the more recent radiations of birds and mammals. Furthermore, the list of taxa with exceptional TE landscapes is growing. We emphasize that the current bottleneck in genome analyses lies in the proper annotation of TEs and provide examples where superficial analyses led to misleading conclusions about genome evolution. Finally, recent advances in long-read sequencing will soon permit access to TE-rich genomic regions that previously resisted assembly including the gigantic, TE-rich genomes of salamanders and lungfishes.