ResearchPad - enhancer-elements https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[A MYB transcription factor, <i>BnMYB2</i>, cloned from ramie (<i>Boehmeria nivea</i>) is involved in cadmium tolerance and accumulation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_15762 MYB-related transcription factors play important roles in plant development and response to various environmental stresses. In the present study, a novel MYB gene, designated as BnMYB2 (GenBank accession number: MF741319.1), was isolated from Boehmeria nivea using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) and RT-PCR on a sequence fragment from a ramie transcriptome. BnMYB2 has a 945 bp open reading frame encoding a 314 amino acid protein that contains a DNA-binding domain and shares high sequence identity with MYB proteins from other plant species. The BnMYB2 promoter contains several putative cis-acting elements involved in stress or phytohormone responses. A translational fusion of BnMYB2 with enhanced green fluorescent protein (eGFP) showed nuclear and cytosolic subcellular localization. Real-time PCR results indicated that BnMYB2 expression was induced by Cadmium (Cd) stress. Overexpression of BnMYB2 in Arabidopsis thaliana resulted in a significant increase of Cd tolerance and accumulation. Thus, BnMYB2 positively regulated Cd tolerance and accumulation in Arabidopsis, and could be used to enhance the efficiency of Cd removal with plants.

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<![CDATA[Chronic Inhibition of STAT3/STAT5 in Treatment-Resistant Human Breast Cancer Cell Subtypes: Convergence on the ROS/SUMO Pathway and Its Effects on xCT Expression and System xc- Activity]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f7ab0ee8fa60b70c99

Pharmacologically targeting activated STAT3 and/or STAT5 has been an active area of cancer research. The cystine/glutamate antiporter, system xc-, contributes to redox balance and export of intracellularly produced glutamate in response to up-regulated glutaminolysis in cancer cells. We have previously shown that blocking STAT3/5 using the small molecule inhibitor, SH-4-54, which targets the SH2 domains of both proteins, increases xCT expression, thereby increasing system xc- activity in human breast cancer cells. The current investigation demonstrates that chronic SH-4-54 administration, followed by clonal selection of treatment-resistant MDA-MB-231 and T47D breast cancer cells, elicits distinct subtype-dependent effects. xCT mRNA and protein levels, glutamate release, and cystine uptake are decreased relative to untreated passage-matched controls in triple-negative MDA-MB-231 cells, with the inverse occurring in estrogen-responsive T47D cells. This “ying-yang” effect is linked with a shifted balance between the phosphorylation status of STAT3 and STAT5, intracellular ROS levels, and STAT5 SUMOylation/de-SUMOylation. STAT5 emerged as a definitive negative regulator of xCT at the transcriptional level, while STAT3 activation is coupled with increased system xc- activity. We propose that careful classification of a patient’s breast cancer subtype is central to effectively targeting STAT3/5 as a therapeutic means of treating breast cancer, particularly given that xCT is emerging as an important biomarker of aggressive cancers.

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<![CDATA[Identification of a Regulatory Variant That Binds FOXA1 and FOXA2 at the CDC123/CAMK1D Type 2 Diabetes GWAS Locus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da50ab0ee8fa60b8db65

Many of the type 2 diabetes loci identified through genome-wide association studies localize to non-protein-coding intronic and intergenic regions and likely contain variants that regulate gene transcription. The CDC123/CAMK1D type 2 diabetes association signal on chromosome 10 spans an intergenic region between CDC123 and CAMK1D and also overlaps the CDC123 3′UTR. To gain insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying the association signal, we used open chromatin, histone modifications and transcription factor ChIP-seq data sets from type 2 diabetes-relevant cell types to identify SNPs overlapping predicted regulatory regions. Two regions containing type 2 diabetes-associated variants were tested for enhancer activity using luciferase reporter assays. One SNP, rs11257655, displayed allelic differences in transcriptional enhancer activity in 832/13 and MIN6 insulinoma cells as well as in human HepG2 hepatocellular carcinoma cells. The rs11257655 risk allele T showed greater transcriptional activity than the non-risk allele C in all cell types tested. Using electromobility shift and supershift assays we demonstrated that the rs11257655 risk allele showed allele-specific binding to FOXA1 and FOXA2. We validated FOXA1 and FOXA2 enrichment at the rs11257655 risk allele using allele-specific ChIP in human islets. These results suggest that rs11257655 affects transcriptional activity through altered binding of a protein complex that includes FOXA1 and FOXA2, providing a potential molecular mechanism at this GWAS locus.

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<![CDATA[Effect of Interaction between Chromatin Loops on Cell-to-Cell Variability in Gene Expression]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f1ab0ee8fa60b6eabe

According to recent experimental evidence, the interaction between chromatin loops, which can be characterized by three factors—connection pattern, distance between regulatory elements, and communication form, play an important role in determining the level of cell-to-cell variability in gene expression. These quantitative experiments call for a corresponding modeling effect that addresses the question of how changes in these factors affect variability at the expression level in a systematic rather than case-by-case fashion. Here we make such an effort, based on a mechanic model that maps three fundamental patterns for two interacting DNA loops into a 4–state model of stochastic transcription. We first show that in contrast to side-by-side loops, nested loops enhance mRNA expression and reduce expression noise whereas alternating loops have just opposite effects. Then, we compare effects of facilitated tracking and direct looping on gene expression. We find that the former performs better than the latter in controlling mean expression and in tuning expression noise, but this control or tuning is distance–dependent, remarkable for moderate loop lengths, and there is a limit loop length such that the difference in effect between two communication forms almost disappears. Our analysis and results justify the facilitated chromatin–looping hypothesis.

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<![CDATA[Accurate Promoter and Enhancer Identification in 127 ENCODE and Roadmap Epigenomics Cell Types and Tissues by GenoSTAN]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da19ab0ee8fa60b7c2f4

Accurate maps of promoters and enhancers are required for understanding transcriptional regulation. Promoters and enhancers are usually mapped by integration of chromatin assays charting histone modifications, DNA accessibility, and transcription factor binding. However, current algorithms are limited by unrealistic data distribution assumptions. Here we propose GenoSTAN (Genomic STate ANnotation), a hidden Markov model overcoming these limitations. We map promoters and enhancers for 127 cell types and tissues from the ENCODE and Roadmap Epigenomics projects, today’s largest compendium of chromatin assays. Extensive benchmarks demonstrate that GenoSTAN generally identifies promoters and enhancers with significantly higher accuracy than previous methods. Moreover, GenoSTAN-derived promoters and enhancers showed significantly higher enrichment of complex trait-associated genetic variants than current annotations. Altogether, GenoSTAN provides an easy-to-use tool to define promoters and enhancers in any system, and our annotation of human transcriptional cis-regulatory elements constitutes a rich resource for future research in biology and medicine.

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<![CDATA[Regulation of the Orphan Nuclear Receptor Nr2f2 by the DFNA15 Deafness Gene Pou4f3]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daceab0ee8fa60bb520e

Hair cells are the mechanotransducing cells of the inner ear that are essential for hearing and balance. POU4F3 – a POU-domain transcription factor selectively expressed by these cells – has been shown to be essential for hair cell differentiation and survival in mice and its mutation in humans underlies late-onset progressive hearing loss (DFNA15). The downstream targets of POU4F3 are required for hair cell differentiation and survival. We aimed to identify such targets in order to elucidate the molecular pathways involved in hair cell production and maintenance. The orphan thyroid nuclear receptor Nr2f2 was identified as a POU4F3 target using a subtractive hybridization strategy and EMSA analysis showed that POU4F3 binds to two sites in the Nr2f2 5′ flanking region. These sites were shown to be required for POU4F3 activation as their mutation leads to a reduction in the response of an Nr2f2 5′ flanking region reporter construct to POU4F3. Immunocytochemistry was carried out in the developing and adult inner ear in order to investigate the relevance of this interaction in hearing. NR2F2 expression in the postnatal mouse organ of Corti was shown to be detectable in all sensory epithelia examined and characterised. These data demonstrate that Nr2f2 is a direct target of POU4F3 in vitro and that this regulatory relationship may be relevant to hair cell development and survival.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Essential Genetic Baculoviral Elements for Recombinant Protein Expression by Transactivation in Sf21 Insect Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9f5ab0ee8fa60b6fe2f

The Baculovirus Expression Vector System (BEVS) is widely used to produce high amounts of recombinant proteins. Nevertheless, generating recombinant baculovirus in high quality is rather time-consuming and labor-intensive. Alternatively, virus-free expression in insect cells did not achieve similar expression levels for most proteins so far. The transactivation method is a promising approach for protein expression in Sf21 cells. It combines advantages of BEVS and plasmid-based expression by activating strong virus-dependent promoters on a transfected plasmid by baculoviral coinfection. Here, we identified expression elements required for transactivation. Therefore, we designed several vectors comprising different viral promoters or promoter combinations and tested them for eGFP expression using the automated BioLector microcultivation system. Remarkably, only the combination of the very late promoter p10 together with the homologous region 5 (hr5) could boost expression during transactivation. Other elements, like p10 alone or the late viral promoter polH, did not respond to transactivation. A new combination of hr5 and p10 with the strongest immediate early OpMNPV viral promoter OpIE2 improved the yield of eGFP by ~25% in comparison to the previous applied hr5-IE1-p10 expression cassette. Furthermore, we observed a strong influence of the transcription termination sequence and vector backbone on the level of expression. Finally, the expression levels for transactivation, BEVS and solely plasmid-based expression were compared for the marker protein eGFP, underlining the potential of transactivation for fast recombinant protein expression in Sf21 cells. In conclusion, essential elements for transactivation could be identified. The optimal elements were applied to generate an improved vector applicable in virus-free plasmid-based expression, transactivation and BEVS.

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<![CDATA[Functional Dissection of the Blocking and Bypass Activities of the Fab-8 Boundary in the Drosophila Bithorax Complex]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da47ab0ee8fa60b8c19e

Functionally autonomous regulatory domains direct the parasegment-specific expression of the Drosophila Bithorax complex (BX-C) homeotic genes. Autonomy is conferred by boundary/insulator elements that separate each regulatory domain from its neighbors. For six of the nine parasegment (PS) regulatory domains in the complex, at least one boundary is located between the domain and its target homeotic gene. Consequently, BX-C boundaries must not only block adventitious interactions between neighboring regulatory domains, but also be permissive (bypass) for regulatory interactions between the domains and their gene targets. To elucidate how the BX-C boundaries combine these two contradictory activities, we have used a boundary replacement strategy. We show that a 337 bp fragment spanning the Fab-8 boundary nuclease hypersensitive site and lacking all but 83 bp of the 625 bp Fab-8 PTS (promoter targeting sequence) fully rescues a Fab-7 deletion. It blocks crosstalk between the iab-6 and iab-7 regulatory domains, and has bypass activity that enables the two downstream domains, iab-5 and iab-6, to regulate Abdominal-B (Abd-B) transcription in spite of two intervening boundary elements. Fab-8 has two dCTCF sites and we show that they are necessary both for blocking and bypass activity. However, CTCF sites on their own are not sufficient for bypass. While multimerized dCTCF (or Su(Hw)) sites have blocking activity, they fail to support bypass. Moreover, this bypass defect is not rescued by the full length PTS. Finally, we show that orientation is critical for the proper functioning the Fab-8 replacement. Though the inverted Fab-8 boundary still blocks crosstalk, it disrupts the topology of the Abd-B regulatory domains and does not support bypass. Importantly, altering the orientation of the Fab-8 dCTCF sites is not sufficient to disrupt bypass, indicating that orientation dependence is conferred by other factors.

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<![CDATA[Bidirectional Promoter Engineering for Single Cell MicroRNA Sensors in Embryonic Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5bab0ee8fa60b8fd5b

MicroRNAs have emerged as important markers and regulators of cell identity. Precise measurements of cellular miRNA levels rely traditionally on RNA extraction and thus do not allow to follow miRNA expression dynamics at the level of single cells. Non-invasive miRNA sensors present an ideal solution but they critically depend on the performance of suitable ubiquitous promoters that reliably drive expression both in pluripotent and differentiated cell types. Here we describe the engineering of bidirectional promoters that drive the expression of precise ratiometric fluorescent miRNA sensors in single mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and their differentiated derivatives. These promoters are based on combinations of the widely used CAG, EF1α and PGK promoters as well as the CMV and PGK enhancers. miR-142-3p, which is known to be bimodally expressed in mESCs, served as a model miRNA to gauge the precision of the sensors. The performance of the resulting miRNA sensors was assessed by flow cytometry in single stable transgenic mESCs undergoing self-renewal or differentiation. EF1α promoters arranged back-to-back failed to drive the robustly correlated expression of two transgenes. Back-to-back PGK promoters were shut down during mESC differentiation. However, we found that a back-to-back arrangement of CAG promoters with four CMV enhancers provided both robust expression in mESCs undergoing differentiation and the best signal-to-noise for measurement of miRNA activity in single cells among all the sensors we tested. Such a bidirectional promoter is therefore particularly well suited to study the dynamics of miRNA expression during cell fate transitions at the single cell level.

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<![CDATA[Retinal Expression of the Drosophila eyes absent Gene Is Controlled by Several Cooperatively Acting Cis-regulatory Elements]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db4cab0ee8fa60bda9af

The eyes absent (eya) gene of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, is a member of an evolutionarily conserved gene regulatory network that controls eye formation in all seeing animals. The loss of eya leads to the complete elimination of the compound eye while forced expression of eya in non-retinal tissues is sufficient to induce ectopic eye formation. Within the developing retina eya is expressed in a dynamic pattern and is involved in tissue specification/determination, cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell fate choice. In this report we explore the mechanisms by which eya expression is spatially and temporally governed in the developing eye. We demonstrate that multiple cis-regulatory elements function cooperatively to control eya transcription and that spacing between a pair of enhancer elements is important for maintaining correct gene expression. Lastly, we show that the loss of eya expression in sine oculis (so) mutants is the result of massive cell death and a progressive homeotic transformation of retinal progenitor cells into head epidermis.

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<![CDATA[Isolation and Functional Validation of Salinity and Osmotic Stress Inducible Promoter from the Maize Type-II H+-Pyrophosphatase Gene by Deletion Analysis in Transgenic Tobacco Plants]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da03ab0ee8fa60b74df2

Salinity and drought severely affect both plant growth and productivity, making the isolation and characterization of salinity- or drought-inducible promoters suitable for genetic improvement of crop resistance highly desirable. In this study, a 1468-bp sequence upstream of the translation initiation codon ATG of the promoter for ZmGAPP (maize Type-II H+-pyrophosphatase gene) was cloned. Nine 5´ deletion fragments (D1–D9) of different lengths of the ZmGAPP promoter were fused with the GUS reporter and translocated into tobacco. The deletion analysis showed that fragments D1–D8 responded well to NaCl and PEG stresses, whereas fragment D9 and CaMV 35S did not. The D8 segment (219 bp; -219 to -1 bp) exhibited the highest promoter activity of all tissues, with the exception of petals among the D1–D9 transgenic tobacco, which corresponds to about 10% and 25% of CaMV 35S under normal and NaCl or PEG stress conditions, respectively. As such, the D8 segment may confer strong gene expression in a salinity and osmotic stress inducible manner. A 71-bp segment (-219 to -148 bp) was considered as the key region regulating ZmGAPP response to NaCl or PEG stress, as transient transformation assays demonstrated that the 71-bp sequence was sufficient for the salinity or osmotic stress response. These results enhance our understanding of the molecular mechanisms regulating ZmGAPP expression, and that the D8 promoter would be an ideal candidate for moderating expression of drought and salinity response genes in transgenic plants.

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<![CDATA[CRISPR Reveals a Distal Super-Enhancer Required for Sox2 Expression in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da5bab0ee8fa60b90029

The pluripotency of embryonic stem cells (ESCs) is maintained by a small group of master transcription factors including Oct4, Sox2 and Nanog. These core factors form a regulatory circuit controlling the transcription of a number of pluripotency factors including themselves. Although previous studies have identified transcriptional regulators of this core network, the cis-regulatory DNA sequences required for the transcription of these key pluripotency factors remain to be defined. We analyzed epigenomic data within the 1.5 Mb gene-desert regions around the Sox2 gene and identified a 13kb-long super-enhancer (SE) located 100kb downstream of Sox2 in mouse ESCs. This SE is occupied by Oct4, Sox2, Nanog, and the mediator complex, and physically interacts with the Sox2 locus via DNA looping. Using a simple and highly efficient double-CRISPR genome editing strategy we deleted the entire 13-kb SE and characterized transcriptional defects in the resulting monoallelic and biallelic deletion clones with RNA-seq. We showed that the SE is responsible for over 90% of Sox2 expression, and Sox2 is the only target gene along the chromosome. Our results support the functional significance of a SE in maintaining the pluripotency transcription program in mouse ESCs.

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<![CDATA[The bHLH-PAS Transcription Factor Dysfusion Regulates Tarsal Joint Formation in Response to Notch Activity during Drosophila Leg Development]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da74ab0ee8fa60b960b0

A characteristic of all arthropods is the presence of flexible structures called joints that connect all leg segments. Drosophila legs include two types of joints: the proximal or “true” joints that are motile due to the presence of muscle attachment and the distal joints that lack musculature. These joints are not only morphologically, functionally and evolutionarily different, but also the morphogenetic program that forms them is distinct. Development of both proximal and distal joints requires Notch activity; however, it is still unknown how this pathway can control the development of such homologous although distinct structures. Here we show that the bHLH-PAS transcription factor encoded by the gene dysfusion (dys), is expressed and absolutely required for tarsal joint development while it is dispensable for proximal joints. In the presumptive tarsal joints, Dys regulates the expression of the pro-apoptotic genes reaper and head involution defective and the expression of the RhoGTPases modulators, RhoGEf2 and RhoGap71E, thus directing key morphogenetic events required for tarsal joint development. When ectopically expressed, dys is able to induce some aspects of the morphogenetic program necessary for distal joint development such as fold formation and programmed cell death. This novel Dys function depends on its obligated partner Tango to activate the transcription of target genes. We also identified a dedicated dys cis-regulatory module that regulates dys expression in the tarsal presumptive leg joints through direct Su(H) binding. All these data place dys as a key player downstream of Notch, directing distal versus proximal joint morphogenesis.

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<![CDATA[Chromatin Loops as Allosteric Modulators of Enhancer-Promoter Interactions]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dae4ab0ee8fa60bbcd87

The classic model of eukaryotic gene expression requires direct spatial contact between a distal enhancer and a proximal promoter. Recent Chromosome Conformation Capture (3C) studies show that enhancers and promoters are embedded in a complex network of looping interactions. Here we use a polymer model of chromatin fiber to investigate whether, and to what extent, looping interactions between elements in the vicinity of an enhancer-promoter pair can influence their contact frequency. Our equilibrium polymer simulations show that a chromatin loop, formed by elements flanking either an enhancer or a promoter, suppresses enhancer-promoter interactions, working as an insulator. A loop formed by elements located in the region between an enhancer and a promoter, on the contrary, facilitates their interactions. We find that different mechanisms underlie insulation and facilitation; insulation occurs due to steric exclusion by the loop, and is a global effect, while facilitation occurs due to an effective shortening of the enhancer-promoter genomic distance, and is a local effect. Consistently, we find that these effects manifest quite differently for in silico 3C and microscopy. Our results show that looping interactions that do not directly involve an enhancer-promoter pair can nevertheless significantly modulate their interactions. This phenomenon is analogous to allosteric regulation in proteins, where a conformational change triggered by binding of a regulatory molecule to one site affects the state of another site.

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<![CDATA[A Strategy for Genome-Wide Identification of Gene Based Polymorphisms in Rice Reveals Non-Synonymous Variation and Functional Genotypic Markers]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da75ab0ee8fa60b96661

The genetic diversity of plants has traditionally been employed to improve crop plants to suit human needs, and in the future feed the increasing population and protect crops from environmental stresses and climate change. Genome-wide sequencing is a reality and can be used to make association to crop traits to be utilized by high-throughput marker based selection methods. This study describes a strategy of using next generation sequencing (NGS) data from the rice genome to make comparisons to the high-quality reference genome, identify functional polymorphisms within genes that might result in function changes and be used to study correlations to traits and employed in genetic mapping. We analyzed the NGS data of Oryza sativa ssp indica cv. G4 covering 241 Mb with ∼20X coverage and compared to the reference genome of Oryza sativa ssp. japonica to describe the genome-wide distribution of gene-based single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). The analysis shows that the 63% covered genome consists of 1.6 million SNPs with 6.9 SNPs/Kb, and including 80,146 insertions and 92,655 deletions (INDELs) genome-wide. There are a total of 1,139,801 intergenic SNPs, 295,136 SNPs in intronic/non-coding regions, 195,098 in coding regions, 23,242 SNPs at the five-prime (5′) UTR regions and 22,686 SNPs at the three-prime (3′) UTR region. SNP variation was found in 40,761 gene loci, which include 75,262 synonymous and 119,836 non-synonymous changes, and functional reading frame changes through 3,886 inducing STOP-codon (isSNP) and 729 preventing STOP-codon (psSNP) variation. There are quickly evolving 194 high SNP hotspot genes (>100 SNPs/gene), and 1,513 out of 2,458 transcription factors displaying 2,294 non-synonymous SNPs that can be a major source of phenotypic diversity within the species. All data is searchable at https://plantstress-pereira.uark.edu/oryza2. We envision that this strategy will be useful for the identification of genes for crop traits and molecular breeding of rice cultivars.

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<![CDATA[Identification of Highly Conserved Putative Developmental Enhancers Bound by SOX3 in Neural Progenitors Using ChIP-Seq]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da71ab0ee8fa60b951d4

The transcription factor SOX3 is expressed within most neural progenitor (NP) cells of the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS) and is essential for normal brain development in mice and humans. However, despite the widespread expression of Sox3, CNS defects in null mice are relatively mild due to functional redundancy with the other SOXB1 sub-group members Sox1 and Sox2. To further understand the molecular function of SOX3, we investigated the genome-wide binding profile of endogenous SOX3 in NP cells using ChIP-seq. SOX3 binding was identified at over 8,000 sites, most of which were intronic or intergeneic and were significantly associated with neurodevelopmental genes. The majority of binding sites were moderately or highly conserved (phastCons scores >0.1 and 0.5, respectively) and included the previously characterised, SOXB1-binding Nestin NP cell enhancer. Comparison of SOX3 and published ChIP-Seq data for the co-activator P300 in embryonic brain identified hundreds of highly conserved putative enhancer elements. In addition, we identified a subset of highly conserved putative enhancers for CNS development genes common to SOXB1 members in NP cells, all of which contained the SOX consensus motif (ACAAWR). Together these data implicate SOX3 in the direct regulation of hundreds of NP genes and provide molecular insight into the overlapping roles of SOXB1 proteins in CNS development.

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<![CDATA[Multiple Functional Risk Variants in a SMAD7 Enhancer Implicate a Colorectal Cancer Risk Haplotype]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da2dab0ee8fa60b831f8

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) of colorectal cancer (CRC) have led to the identification of a number of common variants associated with modest risk. Several risk variants map within the vicinity of TGFβ/BMP signaling pathway genes, including rs4939827 within an intron of SMAD7 at 18q21.1. A previous study implicated a novel SNP (novel 1 or rs58920878) as a functional variant within an enhancer element in SMAD7 intron 4. In this study, we show that four SNPs including novel 1 (rs6507874, rs6507875, rs8085824, and rs58920878) in linkage disequilibrium (LD) with the index SNP rs4939827 demonstrate allele-specific enhancer effects in a large, multi-component enhancer of SMAD7. All four SNPs demonstrate allele-specific protein binding to nuclear extracts of CRC cell lines. Furthermore, some of the risk-associated alleles correlate with increased expression of SMAD7 in normal colon tissues. Finally, we show that the enhancer is responsive to BMP4 stimulation. Taken together, we propose that the associated CRC risk at 18q21.1 is due to four functional variants that regulate SMAD7 expression and potentially perturb a BMP negative feedback loop in TGFβ/BMP signaling pathways.

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