September 22, 2019  |  

Genome-wide characterization of human L1 antisense promoter-driven transcripts.

Long INterspersed Element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) is the only autonomously active, transposable element in the human genome. L1 sequences comprise approximately 17 % of the human genome, but only the evolutionarily recent, human-specific subfamily is retrotransposition competent. The L1 promoter has a bidirectional orientation containing a sense promoter that drives the transcription of two proteins required for retrotransposition and an antisense promoter. The L1 antisense promoter can drive transcription of chimeric transcripts: 5′ L1 antisense sequences spliced to the exons of neighboring genes.The impact of L1 antisense promoter activity on cellular transcriptomes is poorly understood. To investigate this, we analyzed GenBank ESTs for messenger RNAs that initiate in the L1 antisense promoter. We identified 988 putative L1 antisense chimeric transcripts, 911 of which have not been previously reported. These appear to be alternative genic transcripts, sense-oriented with respect to gene and initiating near, but typically downstream of, the gene transcriptional start site. In multiple cell lines, L1 antisense promoters display enrichment for YY1 transcription factor and histone modifications associated with active promoters. Global run-on sequencing data support the activity of the L1 antisense promoter. We independently detected 124 L1 antisense chimeric transcripts using long read Pacific Biosciences RNA-seq data. Furthermore, we validated four chimeric transcripts by quantitative RT-PCR and Sanger sequencing and demonstrated that they are readily detectable in many normal human tissues.We present a comprehensive characterization of human L1 antisense promoter-driven transcripts and provide substantial evidence that they are transcribed in a variety of human cell-types. Our findings reveal a new wide-reaching aspect of L1 biology by identifying antisense transcripts affecting as many as 4 % of all human genes.

July 19, 2019  |  

CGGBP1 mitigates cytosine methylation at repetitive DNA sequences.

CGGBP1 is a repetitive DNA-binding transcription regulator with target sites at CpG-rich sequences such as CGG repeats and Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs. The role of CGGBP1 as a possible mediator of CpG methylation however remains unknown. At CpG-rich sequences cytosine methylation is a major mechanism of transcriptional repression. Concordantly, gene-rich regions typically carry lower levels of CpG methylation than the repetitive elements. It is well known that at interspersed repeats Alu-SINEs and L1-LINEs high levels of CpG methylation constitute a transcriptional silencing and retrotransposon inactivating mechanism.Here, we have studied genome-wide CpG methylation with or without CGGBP1-depletion. By high throughput sequencing of bisulfite-treated genomic DNA we have identified CGGBP1 to be a negative regulator of CpG methylation at repetitive DNA sequences. In addition, we have studied CpG methylation alterations on Alu and L1 retrotransposons in CGGBP1-depleted cells using a novel bisulfite-treatment and high throughput sequencing approach.The results clearly show that CGGBP1 is a possible bidirectional regulator of CpG methylation at Alus, and acts as a repressor of methylation at L1 retrotransposons.

July 19, 2019  |  

DNA methylation on N(6)-adenine in mammalian embryonic stem cells.

It has been widely accepted that 5-methylcytosine is the only form of DNA methylation in mammalian genomes. Here we identify N(6)-methyladenine as another form of DNA modification in mouse embryonic stem cells. Alkbh1 encodes a demethylase for N(6)-methyladenine. An increase of N(6)-methyladenine levels in Alkbh1-deficient cells leads to transcriptional silencing. N(6)-methyladenine deposition is inversely correlated with the evolutionary age of LINE-1 transposons; its deposition is strongly enriched at young (<1.5 million years old) but not old (>6 million years old) L1 elements. The deposition of N(6)-methyladenine correlates with epigenetic silencing of such LINE-1 transposons, together with their neighbouring enhancers and genes, thereby resisting the gene activation signals during embryonic stem cell differentiation. As young full-length LINE-1 transposons are strongly enriched on the X chromosome, genes located on the X chromosome are also silenced. Thus, N(6)-methyladenine developed a new role in epigenetic silencing in mammalian evolution distinct from its role in gene activation in other organisms. Our results demonstrate that N(6)-methyladenine constitutes a crucial component of the epigenetic regulation repertoire in mammalian genomes.

July 19, 2019  |  

AgIn: Measuring the landscape of CpG methylation of individual repetitive elements.

Determining the methylation state of regions with high copy numbers is challenging for second-generation sequencing, because the read length is insufficient to map reads uniquely, especially when repetitive regions are long and nearly identical to each other. Single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing is a promising method for observing such regions, because it is not vulnerable to GC bias, it produces long read lengths, and its kinetic information is sensitive to DNA modifications.We propose a novel linear-time algorithm that combines the kinetic information for neighboring CpG sites and increases the confidence in identifying the methylation states of those sites. Using a practical read coverage of ~30-fold from an inbred strain medaka (Oryzias latipes), we observed that both the sensitivity and precision of our method on individual CpG sites were ~93.7%. We also observed a high correlation coefficient (R?=?0.884) between our method and bisulfite sequencing, and for 92.0% of CpG sites, methylation levels ranging over [0, 1] were in concordance within an acceptable difference 0.25. Using this method, we characterized the landscape of the methylation status of repetitive elements, such as LINEs, in the human genome, thereby revealing the strong correlation between CpG density and hypomethylation and detecting hypomethylation hot spots of LTRs and LINEs. We uncovered the methylation states for nearly identical active transposons, two novel LINE insertions of identity ~99% and length 6050 base pairs (bp) in the human genome, and 16 Tol2 elements of identity >99.8% and length 4682?bp in the medaka genome.AgIn (Aggregate on Intervals) is available at: CONTACT:, SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press.

July 19, 2019  |  

Exonization of an intronic LINE-1 element causing Becker muscular dystrophy as a novel mutational mechanism in dystrophin gene.

A broad mutational spectrum in the dystrophin (DMD) gene, from large deletions/duplications to point mutations, causes Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy (D/BMD). Comprehensive genotyping is particularly relevant considering the mutation-centered therapies for dystrophinopathies. We report the genetic characterization of a patient with disease onset at age 13 years, elevated creatine kinase levels and reduced dystrophin labeling, where multiplex-ligation probe amplification (MLPA) and genomic sequencing failed to detect pathogenic variants. Bioinformatic, transcriptomic (real time PCR, RT-PCR), and genomic approaches (Southern blot, long-range PCR, and single molecule real-time sequencing) were used to characterize the mutation. An aberrant transcript was identified, containing a 103-nucleotide insertion between exons 51 and 52, with no similarity with the DMD gene. This corresponded to the partial exonization of a long interspersed nuclear element (LINE-1), disrupting the open reading frame. Further characterization identified a complete LINE-1 (~6 kb with typical hallmarks) deeply inserted in intron 51. Haplotyping and segregation analysis demonstrated that the mutation had a de novo origin. Besides underscoring the importance of mRNA studies in genetically unsolved cases, this is the first report of a disease-causing fully intronic LINE-1 element in DMD, adding to the diversity of mutational events that give rise to D/BMD.

July 7, 2019  |  

Next-generation sequencing-based detection of germline L1-mediated transductions.

While active LINE-1 (L1) elements possess the ability to mobilize flanking sequences to different genomic loci through a process termed transduction influencing genomic content and structure, an approach for detecting polymorphic germline non-reference transductions in massively-parallel sequencing data has been lacking.Here we present the computational approach TIGER (Transduction Inference in GERmline genomes), enabling the discovery of non-reference L1-mediated transductions by combining L1 discovery with detection of unique insertion sequences and detailed characterization of insertion sites. We employed TIGER to characterize polymorphic transductions in fifteen genomes from non-human primate species (chimpanzee, orangutan and rhesus macaque), as well as in a human genome. We achieved high accuracy as confirmed by PCR and two single molecule DNA sequencing techniques, and uncovered differences in relative rates of transduction between primate species.By enabling detection of polymorphic transductions, TIGER makes this form of relevant structural variation amenable for population and personal genome analysis.

July 7, 2019  |  

A hot L1 retrotransposon evades somatic repression and initiates human colorectal cancer.

Although human LINE-1 (L1) elements are actively mobilized in many cancers, a role for somatic L1 retrotransposition in tumor initiation has not been conclusively demonstrated. Here, we identify a novel somatic L1 insertion in the APC tumor suppressor gene that provided us with a unique opportunity to determine whether such insertions can actually initiate colorectal cancer (CRC), and if so, how this might occur. Our data support a model whereby a hot L1 source element on Chromosome 17 of the patient’s genome evaded somatic repression in normal colon tissues and thereby initiated CRC by mutating the APC gene. This insertion worked together with a point mutation in the second APC allele to initiate tumorigenesis through the classic two-hit CRC pathway. We also show that L1 source profiles vary considerably depending on the ancestry of an individual, and that population-specific hot L1 elements represent a novel form of cancer risk. © 2016 Scott et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

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