Hepatic Long Intergenic Noncoding RNAs: High Promoter Conservation and Dynamic, Sex-Dependent Transcriptional Regulation by Growth Hormone.
ABSTRACT: Long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) are increasingly recognized as key chromatin regulators, yet few studies have characterized lincRNAs in a single tissue under diverse conditions. Here, we analyzed 45 mouse liver RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) data sets collected under diverse conditions to systematically characterize 4,961 liver lincRNAs, 59% of them novel, with regard to gene structures, species conservation, chromatin accessibility, transcription factor binding, and epigenetic states. To investigate the potential for functionality, we focused on the responses of the liver lincRNAs to growth hormone stimulation, which imparts clinically relevant sex differences to hepatic metabolism and liver disease susceptibility. Sex-biased expression characterized 247 liver lincRNAs, with many being nuclear RNA enriched and regulated by growth hormone. The sex-biased lincRNA genes are enriched for nearby and correspondingly sex-biased accessible chromatin regions, as well as sex-biased binding sites for growth hormone-regulated transcriptional activators (STAT5, hepatocyte nuclear factor 6 [HNF6], FOXA1, and FOXA2) and transcriptional repressors (CUX2 and BCL6). Repression of female-specific lincRNAs in male liver, but not that of male-specific lincRNAs in female liver, was associated with enrichment of H3K27me3-associated inactive states and poised (bivalent) enhancer states. Strikingly, we found that liver-specific lincRNA gene promoters are more highly species conserved and have a significantly higher frequency of proximal binding by liver transcription factors than liver-specific protein-coding gene promoters. Orthologs for many liver lincRNAs were identified in one or more supraprimates, including two rat lincRNAs showing the same growth hormone-regulated, sex-biased expression as their mouse counterparts. This integrative analysis of liver lincRNA chromatin states, transcription factor occupancy, and growth hormone regulation provides novel insights into the expression of sex-specific lincRNAs and their potential for regulation of sex differences in liver physiology and disease.
Project description:Chromatin state maps were developed to elucidate sex differences in chromatin structure and their impact on sex-differential chromatin accessibility and sex-biased gene expression in mouse liver. Genes in active, inactive, and poised chromatin states exhibited differential responsiveness to ligand-activated nuclear receptors and distinct enrichments for functional gene categories. Sex-biased genes were clustered by chromatin environments and mapped to DNase-hypersensitive sites (DHS) classified by sex bias in chromatin accessibility and enhancer modifications. Results were integrated with genome-wide binding data for five transcription factors implicated in growth hormone-regulated, sex-biased liver gene expression, leading to the following findings. (i) Sex-biased DHS, but not sex-biased genes, are frequently characterized by sex-differential chromatin states, indicating distal regulation. (ii) Trimethylation of histone H3 at K27 (H3K27me3) is a major sex-biased repressive mark at highly female-biased but not at highly male-biased genes. (iii) FOXA factors are associated with sex-dependent chromatin opening at male-biased but not female-biased regulatory sites. (iv) Sex-biased STAT5 binding is enriched at sex-biased DHS marked as active enhancers and preferentially targets sex-biased genes with sex-differences in local chromatin marks. (v) The male-biased repressor BCL6 preferentially targets female-biased genes and regulatory sites in a sex-independent chromatin state. (vi) CUX2, a female-specific repressor of male-biased genes, also activates strongly female-biased genes, in association with loss of H3K27me3 marks. Chromatin states are thus a major determinant of sex-biased chromatin accessibility and gene expression, with FOXA pioneer factors proposed to confer sex-dependent chromatin opening and STAT5, but not BCL6, regulating sex-biased genes by binding to sites in a sex-biased chromatin state.
Project description:Sex differences in the incidence and progression of many liver diseases, including liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, are associated with sex-biased hepatic expression of hundreds of genes. This sexual dimorphism is largely determined by the sex-specific pattern of pituitary growth hormone secretion, which controls a transcriptional regulatory network operative in the context of sex-biased and growth hormone-regulated chromatin states. Histone H3K27-trimethylation yields a major sex-biased repressive chromatin mark deposited at many strongly female-biased genes in male mouse liver, but not at male-biased genes in female liver, and is catalyzed by polycomb repressive complex-2 through its homologous catalytic subunits, Ezh1 and Ezh2. Here, we used Ezh1-knockout mice with a hepatocyte-specific knockout of Ezh2 to investigate the sex bias of liver H3K27-trimethylation and its functional role in regulating sex-differences in the liver. Combined hepatic Ezh1/Ezh2 deficiency led to a significant loss of sex-biased gene expression, particularly in male liver, where many female-biased genes were increased in expression while male-biased genes showed decreased expression. The associated loss of H3K27me3 marks, and increases in the active enhancer marks H3K27ac and H3K4me1, were also more pronounced in male liver. Further, Ezh1/Ezh2 deficiency in male liver, and to a lesser extent in female liver, led to up regulation of many genes linked to liver fibrosis and liver cancer, which may contribute to the observed liver pathologies and the increased sensitivity of these mice to hepatotoxin exposure. Thus, Ezh1/Ezh2-catalyzed H3K27-trimethyation regulates sex-dependent genetic programs in liver metabolism and liver fibrosis through its sex-dependent effects on the epigenome, and may thereby determine the sex-bias in liver disease susceptibility.
Project description:Sex-dependent pituitary growth hormone (GH) secretory profiles-pulsatile in males and persistent in females-regulate the sex-biased, STAT5-dependent expression of hundreds of genes in mouse liver, imparting sex differences in hepatic drug/lipid metabolism and disease risk. Here, we examine transcriptional and epigenetic changes induced by continuous GH infusion (cGH) in male mice, which rapidly feminizes the temporal profile of liver STAT5 activity. cGH repressed 86% of male-biased genes and induced 68% of female-biased genes within 4 days; however, several highly female-specific genes showed weak or no feminization, even after 14 days of cGH treatment. Female-biased genes already in an active chromatin state in male liver generally showed early cGH responses; genes in an inactive chromatin state often responded late. Early cGH-responsive genes included those encoding two GH/STAT5-regulated transcriptional repressors: male-biased BCL6, which was repressed, and female-specific CUX2, which was induced. Male-biased genes activated by STAT5 and/or repressed by CUX2 were enriched for early cGH repression. Female-biased BCL6 targets were enriched for early cGH derepression. Changes in sex-specific chromatin accessibility and histone modifications accompanied these cGH-induced sex-biased gene expression changes. Thus, the temporal, sex-biased gene responses to persistent GH stimulation are dictated by GH/STAT5-regulated transcription factors arranged in a hierarchical network and by the dynamics of changes in sex-biased epigenetic states.
Project description:Here we map six chromatin modifications -- H3K4me1, H3K4me3, H3K27ac, H3K36me3, H3K9me3, and H3K27me3 -- genome-wide in male and female mouse liver in order to identify histone modifications that characterize sex-biased genes and sex-biased DNase hypersensitive sites and their regulation by plasma growth hormone (GH) profiles, which are sexually dimorphic. We find distinct mechanisms of regulation in male liver and female liver: sex-dependent K27me3-mediated repression is an important mechanism of repression of female-biased, but not of male-biased, genes, and a sex-dependent K4me1 distribution, suggesting nucleosome repositioning by pioneer factors, is observed at male-biased, but not female-biased, regulatory sites. STAT5-mediated activation is most strongly associated with sex-biased chromatin modifications, while BCL6-mediated repression primarily occurs in association with sex-independent chromatin modifications, both at binding sites and at target genes. These samples are part of a study on chromatin states in male and female mouse and their role in sex-biased liver gene expression (A Sugathan and DJ Waxman (2013) Molec Cell Biol). Examination of six different histone modifications in male and female mouse liver.
Project description:Sex differences in gene expression are widespread in the liver, where many autosomal factors act in tandem with growth hormone signaling to regulate individual variability of sex differences in liver metabolism and disease. Here, we compare hepatic transcriptomic and epigenetic profiles of mouse strains C57BL/6J and CAST/EiJ, representing two subspecies separated by 0.5-1 million years of evolution, to elucidate the actions of genetic factors regulating liver sex differences. We identify 144 protein coding genes and 78 lncRNAs showing strain-conserved sex bias; many have gene ontologies relevant to liver function, are more highly liver-specific and show greater sex bias, and are more proximally regulated than genes whose sex bias is strain-dependent. The strain-conserved genes include key growth hormone-dependent transcriptional regulators of liver sex bias; however, three other transcription factors, Trim24, Tox, and Zfp809, lose their sex-biased expression in CAST/EiJ mouse liver. To elucidate the observed strain specificities in expression, we characterized the strain-dependence of sex-biased chromatin opening and enhancer marks at cis regulatory elements (CREs) within expression quantitative trait loci (eQTL) regulating liver sex-biased genes. Strikingly, 208 of 286 eQTLs with strain-specific, sex-differential effects on expression were associated with a complete gain, loss, or reversal of the sex differences in expression between strains. Moreover, 166 of the 286 eQTLs were linked to the strain-dependent gain or loss of localized sex-biased CREs. Remarkably, a subset of these CREs apparently lacked strain-specific genetic variants yet showed coordinated, strain-dependent sex-biased epigenetic regulation. Thus, we directly link hundreds of strain-specific genetic variants to the high variability in CRE activity and expression of sex-biased genes and uncover underlying genetically-determined epigenetic states controlling liver sex bias in genetically diverse mouse populations.
Project description:LincRNAs are emerging as important regulators with various cellular functions. However, the mechanisms behind their role in transcriptional regulation have not yet been fully explored. In this report, we proposed to characterize the diverse functions of lincRNAs in transcription regulation through an examination of their long-range chromatin interactions. We found that the promoter regions of lincRNAs displayed two distinct patterns of chromatin states, promoter-like and enhancer-like, indicating different regulatory functions for lincRNAs. Notably, the chromatin interactions between lincRNA genes and other genes suggested a potential mechanism for lincRNAs in the regulation of other genes at the RNA level because the transcribed lincRNAs could function at local spaces on other genes that interact with the lincRNAs at the DNA level. These results represent a novel way to predict the functions of lincRNAs. The GWAS-identification of SNPs within the lincRNAs revealed that some lincRNAs were disease-associated, and the chromatin interactions with those lincRNAs suggested that they were potential target genes of these lincRNA-associated SNPs. Our study provides new insights into the roles that lincRNAs play in transcription regulation.
Project description:Long intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) regulate testicular development by acting on protein-coding genes. However, little is known about whether lincRNAs and protein-coding genes exhibit the same expression pattern in the same phase of postnatal testicular development in goats. Therefore, this study aimed to demonstrate the expression patterns and roles of lincRNAs during the postnatal development of the goat testis. Herein, the testes of Yiling goats with average ages of 0, 30, 60, 90, 120, 150, and 180 days postnatal (DP) were used for RNA-seq. In total, 20,269 lincRNAs were identified, including 16,931 novel lincRNAs. We identified seven time-specifically diverse lincRNA modules and six mRNA modules by weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA). Interestingly, the down-regulation of growth-related lincRNAs was nearly one month earlier than the up-regulation of spermatogenesis-related lincRNAs, while the down-regulation of growth-related protein-coding genes and the correspondent up-regulation of spermatogenesis-related protein-coding genes occurred at the same age. Then, potential lincRNA target genes were predicted. Moreover, the co-expression network of lincRNAs demonstrated that ENSCHIT00000000777, ENSCHIT00000002069, and ENSCHIT00000005076 were the key lincRNAs in the process of testis development. Our study discovered the divergent regulation patterns of lincRNA on spermatogenesis and testis growth, providing a fresh insight into age-biased changes in lincRNA expression in the goat testis.
Project description:Numerous long intervening noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) are generated from the mammalian genome by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription. Although multiple functions have been ascribed to lincRNAs, their synthesis and turnover remain poorly characterized. Here, we define systematic differences in transcription and RNA processing between protein-coding and lincRNA genes in human HeLa cells. This is based on a range of nascent transcriptomic approaches applied to different nuclear fractions, including mammalian native elongating transcript sequencing (mNET-seq). Notably, mNET-seq patterns specific for different Pol II CTD phosphorylation states reveal weak co-transcriptional splicing and poly(A) signal-independent Pol II termination of lincRNAs as compared to pre-mRNAs. In addition, lincRNAs are mostly restricted to chromatin, since they are rapidly degraded by the RNA exosome. We also show that a lincRNA-specific co-transcriptional RNA cleavage mechanism acts to induce premature termination. In effect, functional lincRNAs must escape from this targeted nuclear surveillance process.
Project description: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.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.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.
Project description:Sex-specific transcription characterizes hundreds of genes in mouse liver, many implicated in sex-differential drug and lipid metabolism and disease susceptibility. While the regulation of liver sex differences by growth hormone-activated STAT5 is well established, little is known about autosomal genetic factors regulating the sex-specific liver transcriptome. Here we show, using genotyping and expression data from a large population of Diversity Outbred mice, that genetic factors work in tandem with growth hormone to control the individual variability of hundreds of sex-biased genes, including many long non-coding RNA genes. Significant associations between single nucleotide polymorphisms and sex-specific gene expression were identified as expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs), many of which showed strong sex-dependent associations. Remarkably, autosomal genetic modifiers of sex-specific genes were found to account for more than 200 instances of gain or loss of sex-specificity across eight Diversity Outbred mouse founder strains. Sex-biased STAT5 binding sites and open chromatin regions with strain-specific variants were significantly enriched at eQTL regions regulating correspondingly sex-specific genes, supporting the proposed functional regulatory nature of the eQTL regions identified. Binding of the male-biased, growth hormone-regulated repressor BCL6 was most highly enriched at trans-eQTL regions controlling female-specific genes. Co-regulated gene clusters defined by overlapping eQTLs included sets of highly correlated genes from different chromosomes, further supporting trans-eQTL action. These findings elucidate how an unexpectedly large number of autosomal factors work in tandem with growth hormone signaling pathways to regulate the individual variability associated with sex differences in liver metabolism and disease.