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The New Frontier of Functional Genomics: From Chromatin Architecture and Noncoding RNAs to Therapeutic Targets.


ABSTRACT: Common diseases are complex, multifactorial disorders whose pathogenesis is influenced by the interplay of genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Genome-wide association studies have interrogated genetic polymorphisms across genomes of individuals to test associations between genotype and susceptibility to specific disorders, providing insights into the genetic architecture of several complex disorders. However, genetic variants associated with the susceptibility to common diseases are often located in noncoding regions of the genome, such as tissue-specific enhancers or long noncoding RNAs, suggesting that regulatory elements might play a relevant role in human diseases. Enhancers are cis-regulatory genomic sequences that act in concert with promoters to regulate gene expression in a precise spatiotemporal manner. They can be located at a considerable distance from their cognate target promoters, increasing the difficulty of their identification. Genomes are organized in domains of chromatin folding, namely topologically associating domains (TADs). Identification of enhancer-promoter interactions within TADs has revealed principles of cell-type specificity across several organisms and tissues. The vast majority of mammalian genomes are pervasively transcribed, accounting for a previously unappreciated complexity of the noncoding RNA fraction. Particularly, long noncoding RNAs have emerged as key players for the establishment of chromatin architecture and regulation of gene expression. In this perspective, we describe the new advances in the fields of transcriptomics and genome organization, focusing on the role of noncoding genomic variants in the predisposition of common diseases. Finally, we propose a new framework for the identification of the next generation of pharmacological targets for common human diseases.

SUBMITTER: Papanicolaou N 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC7309355 | BioStudies | 2020-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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