Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression by association with chromatin, but how they target chromatin remains poorly understood. Researchers from the University of Gothenburg have used chromatin RNA immunoprecipitation-coupled high-throughput sequencing to identify 276 lncRNAs enriched in repressive chromatin from breast cancer cells.
Using one of the chromatin-interacting lncRNAs, MEG3, they explored the mechanisms by which lncRNAs target chromatin. They show that MEG3 and EZH2 share common target genes, including the TGF-β pathway genes. Genome-wide mapping of MEG3 binding sites reveals that MEG3 modulates the activity of TGF-β genes by binding to distal regulatory elements. MEG3 binding sites have GA-rich sequences, which guide MEG3 to the chromatin through RNA-DNA triplex formation. The researchers have found that RNA-DNA triplex structures are widespread and are present over the MEG3 binding sites associated with the TGF-β pathway genes. These findings suggest that RNA-DNA triplex formation could be a general characteristic of target gene recognition by the chromatin-interacting lncRNAs.
- Mondal T, Subhash S, Vaid R, Enroth S, Uday S, Reinius B, Mitra S, Mohammed A, James AR, Hoberg E, Moustakas A, Gyllensten U, Jones SJ, Gustafsson CM, Sims AH, Westerlund F, Gorab E, Kanduri C. (2015) MEG3 long noncoding RNA regulates the TGF-β pathway genes through formation of RNA-DNA triplex structures. Nat Commun 6:7743. [article]