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1.  Differential regulation of lymphopoiesis and leukemogenesis by individual zinc fingers of Ikaros 
Nature immunology  2013;14(10):1073-1083.
C2H2 zinc fingers are found in several transcriptional regulators in the immune system. However, these proteins usually contain more fingers than are needed for stable DNA binding, suggesting that different fingers regulate different genes and functions. Mice lacking finger 1 or finger 4 of Ikaros exhibited distinct subsets of the phenotypes of Ikaros-null mice. Most notably, the two fingers controlled different stages of lymphopoiesis and finger 4 was selectively required for tumor suppression. The distinct phenotypes suggest that only a small number of Ikaros target genes are critical for each of its biological functions. Subdivision of phenotypes and targets by mutagenesis of individual fingers will facilitate efforts to understand how members of this prevalent family regulate development, immunity and disease.
PMCID: PMC3800053  PMID: 24013668
2.  Renewable, recombinant antibodies to histone post-translational modifications 
Nature methods  2013;10(10):10.1038/nmeth.2605.
Variability in the quality of antibodies to histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) presents widely recognized hindrance in epigenetics research. Here, by using antibody engineering technologies we produced recombinant antibodies directed to the trimethylated lysine residues of histone H3 with high specificity and affinity and no lot-to-lot variation. These recombinant antibodies performed well in common epigenetics applications, and their high specificity enabled us to identify positive and negative correlations among histone PTMs.
PMCID: PMC3828030  PMID: 23955773
3.  Comprehensive Functional Annotation of 77 Prostate Cancer Risk Loci 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(1):e1004102.
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revolutionized the field of cancer genetics, but the causal links between increased genetic risk and onset/progression of disease processes remain to be identified. Here we report the first step in such an endeavor for prostate cancer. We provide a comprehensive annotation of the 77 known risk loci, based upon highly correlated variants in biologically relevant chromatin annotations— we identified 727 such potentially functional SNPs. We also provide a detailed account of possible protein disruption, microRNA target sequence disruption and regulatory response element disruption of all correlated SNPs at . 88% of the 727 SNPs fall within putative enhancers, and many alter critical residues in the response elements of transcription factors known to be involved in prostate biology. We define as risk enhancers those regions with enhancer chromatin biofeatures in prostate-derived cell lines with prostate-cancer correlated SNPs. To aid the identification of these enhancers, we performed genomewide ChIP-seq for H3K27-acetylation, a mark of actively engaged enhancers, as well as the transcription factor TCF7L2. We analyzed in depth three variants in risk enhancers, two of which show significantly altered androgen sensitivity in LNCaP cells. This includes rs4907792, that is in linkage disequilibrium () with an eQTL for NUDT11 (on the X chromosome) in prostate tissue, and rs10486567, the index SNP in intron 3 of the JAZF1 gene on chromosome 7. Rs4907792 is within a critical residue of a strong consensus androgen response element that is interrupted in the protective allele, resulting in a 56% decrease in its androgen sensitivity, whereas rs10486567 affects both NKX3-1 and FOXA-AR motifs where the risk allele results in a 39% increase in basal activity and a 28% fold-increase in androgen stimulated enhancer activity. Identification of such enhancer variants and their potential target genes represents a preliminary step in connecting risk to disease process.
Author Summary
In the following work we provide a complete summary annotation of functional hypotheses relating to risk identified by genome wide association studies of prostate cancer. In addition, we present new genome-wide profiles for H3K27-acetylation and TCF7L2 binding in LNCaP cells. We also introduce the concept of a risk enhancer, and characterize two novel androgen-sensitive enhancers whose activity is specifically affected by prostate-cancer risk SNPs. Our findings represent a preliminary approach to systematic identification of causal variation underlying cancer risk in the prostate.
PMCID: PMC3907334  PMID: 24497837
4.  DNA hypomethylation within specific transposable element families associates with tissue-specific enhancer landscape 
Nature genetics  2013;45(7):10.1038/ng.2649.
Transposable element (TE) derived sequences comprise half of our genome and DNA methylome, and are presumed densely methylated and inactive. Examination of the genome-wide DNA methylation status within 928 TE subfamilies in human embryonic and adult tissues revealed unexpected tissue-specific and subfamily-specific hypomethylation signatures. Genes proximal to tissue-specific hypomethylated TE sequences were enriched for functions important for the tissue type and their expression correlated strongly with hypomethylation of the TEs. When hypomethylated, these TE sequences gained tissue-specific enhancer marks including H3K4me1 and occupancy by p300, and a majority exhibited enhancer activity in reporter gene assays. Many such TEs also harbored binding sites for transcription factors that are important for tissue-specific functions and exhibited evidence for evolutionary selection. These data suggest that sequences derived from TEs may be responsible for wiring tissue type-specific regulatory networks, and have acquired tissue-specific epigenetic regulation.
PMCID: PMC3695047  PMID: 23708189
5.  LOcating Non-Unique matched Tags (LONUT) to Improve the Detection of the Enriched Regions for ChIP-seq Data 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e67788.
One big limitation of computational tools for analyzing ChIP-seq data is that most of them ignore non-unique tags (NUTs) that match the human genome even though NUTs comprise up to 60% of all raw tags in ChIP-seq data. Effectively utilizing these NUTs would increase the sequencing depth and allow a more accurate detection of enriched binding sites, which in turn could lead to more precise and significant biological interpretations. In this study, we have developed a computational tool, LOcating Non-Unique matched Tags (LONUT), to improve the detection of enriched regions from ChIP-seq data. Our LONUT algorithm applies a linear and polynomial regression model to establish an empirical score (ES) formula by considering two influential factors, the distance of NUTs to peaks identified using uniquely matched tags (UMTs) and the enrichment score for those peaks resulting in each NUT being assigned to a unique location on the reference genome. The newly located tags from the set of NUTs are combined with the original UMTs to produce a final set of combined matched tags (CMTs). LONUT was tested on many different datasets representing three different characteristics of biological data types. The detected sites were validated using de novo motif discovery and ChIP-PCR. We demonstrate the specificity and accuracy of LONUT and show that our program not only improves the detection of binding sites for ChIP-seq, but also identifies additional binding sites.
PMCID: PMC3692479  PMID: 23825685
6.  ZBTB33 binds unmethylated regions of the genome associated with actively expressed genes 
DNA methylation and repressive histone modifications cooperate to silence promoters. One mechanism by which regions of methylated DNA could acquire repressive histone modifications is via methyl DNA-binding transcription factors. The zinc finger protein ZBTB33 (also known as Kaiso) has been shown in vitro to bind preferentially to methylated DNA and to interact with the SMRT/NCoR histone deacetylase complexes. We have performed bioinformatic analyses of Kaiso ChIP-seq and DNA methylation datasets to test a model whereby binding of Kaiso to methylated CpGs leads to loss of acetylated histones at target promoters.
Our results suggest that, contrary to expectations, Kaiso does not bind to methylated DNA in vivo but instead binds to highly active promoters that are marked with high levels of acetylated histones. In addition, our studies suggest that DNA methylation and nucleosome occupancy patterns restrict access of Kaiso to potential binding sites and influence cell type-specific binding.
We propose a new model for the genome-wide binding and function of Kaiso whereby Kaiso binds to unmethylated regulatory regions and contributes to the active state of target promoters.
PMCID: PMC3663758  PMID: 23693142
DNA methylation; Zinc finger proteins; Histone modifications; Transcription factor binding; Epigenetics; Transcriptional regulation
9.  Thematic Minireview Series on Results from the ENCODE Project: Integrative Global Analyses of Regulatory Regions in the Human Genome 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2012;287(37):30885-30887.
PMCID: PMC3438920  PMID: 22451669
Chromatin Histone Modification; Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP); Chromatin Regulation; Gene Transcription; Genomics; Transcription Factors
10.  Cell type-specific binding patterns reveal that TCF7L2 can be tethered to the genome by association with GATA3 
Genome Biology  2012;13(9):R52.
The TCF7L2 transcription factor is linked to a variety of human diseases, including type 2 diabetes and cancer. One mechanism by which TCF7L2 could influence expression of genes involved in diverse diseases is by binding to distinct regulatory regions in different tissues. To test this hypothesis, we performed ChIP-seq for TCF7L2 in six human cell lines.
We identified 116,000 non-redundant TCF7L2 binding sites, with only 1,864 sites common to the six cell lines. Using ChIP-seq, we showed that many genomic regions that are marked by both H3K4me1 and H3K27Ac are also bound by TCF7L2, suggesting that TCF7L2 plays a critical role in enhancer activity. Bioinformatic analysis of the cell type-specific TCF7L2 binding sites revealed enrichment for multiple transcription factors, including HNF4alpha and FOXA2 motifs in HepG2 cells and the GATA3 motif in MCF7 cells. ChIP-seq analysis revealed that TCF7L2 co-localizes with HNF4alpha and FOXA2 in HepG2 cells and with GATA3 in MCF7 cells. Interestingly, in MCF7 cells the TCF7L2 motif is enriched in most TCF7L2 sites but is not enriched in the sites bound by both GATA3 and TCF7L2. This analysis suggested that GATA3 might tether TCF7L2 to the genome at these sites. To test this hypothesis, we depleted GATA3 in MCF7 cells and showed that TCF7L2 binding was lost at a subset of sites. RNA-seq analysis suggested that TCF7L2 represses transcription when tethered to the genome via GATA3.
Our studies demonstrate a novel relationship between GATA3 and TCF7L2, and reveal important insights into TCF7L2-mediated gene regulation.
PMCID: PMC3491396  PMID: 22951069
11.  Autophagy Driven by a Master Regulator of Hematopoiesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(1):226-239.
Developmental and homeostatic remodeling of cellular organelles is mediated by a complex process termed autophagy. The cohort of proteins that constitute the autophagy machinery functions in a multistep biochemical pathway. Though components of the autophagy machinery are broadly expressed, autophagy can occur in specialized cellular contexts, and mechanisms underlying cell-type-specific autophagy are poorly understood. We demonstrate that the master regulator of hematopoiesis, GATA-1, directly activates transcription of genes encoding the essential autophagy component microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3B (LC3B) and its homologs (MAP1LC3A, GABARAP, GABARAPL1, and GATE-16). In addition, GATA-1 directly activates genes involved in the biogenesis/function of lysosomes, which mediate autophagic protein turnover. We demonstrate that GATA-1 utilizes the forkhead protein FoxO3 to activate select autophagy genes. GATA-1-dependent LC3B induction is tightly coupled to accumulation of the active form of LC3B and autophagosomes, which mediate mitochondrial clearance as a critical step in erythropoiesis. These results illustrate a novel mechanism by which a master regulator of development establishes a genetic network to instigate cell-type-specific autophagy.
PMCID: PMC3255705  PMID: 22025678
12.  Integration of Hi-C and ChIP-seq data reveals distinct types of chromatin linkages 
Nucleic Acids Research  2012;40(16):7690-7704.
We have analyzed publicly available K562 Hi-C data, which enable genome-wide unbiased capturing of chromatin interactions, using a Mixture Poisson Regression Model and a power-law decay background to define a highly specific set of interacting genomic regions. We integrated multiple ENCODE Consortium resources with the Hi-C data, using DNase-seq data and ChIP-seq data for 45 transcription factors and 9 histone modifications. We classified 12 different sets (clusters) of interacting loci that can be distinguished by their chromatin modifications and which can be categorized into two types of chromatin linkages. The different clusters of loci display very different relationships with transcription factor-binding sites. As expected, many of the transcription factors show binding patterns specific to clusters composed of interacting loci that encompass promoters or enhancers. However, cluster 9, which is distinguished by marks of open chromatin but not by active enhancer or promoter marks, was not bound by most transcription factors but was highly enriched for three transcription factors (GATA1, GATA2 and c-Jun) and three chromatin modifiers (BRG1, INI1 and SIRT6). To investigate the impact of chromatin organization on gene regulation, we performed ribonucleicacid-seq analyses before and after knockdown of GATA1 or GATA2. We found that knockdown of the GATA factors not only alters the expression of genes having a nearby bound GATA but also affects expression of genes in interacting loci. Our work, in combination with previous studies linking regulation by GATA factors with c-Jun and BRG1, provides genome-wide evidence that Hi-C data identify sets of biologically relevant interacting loci.
PMCID: PMC3439894  PMID: 22675074
13.  Epigenetic Modulation of miR-122 Facilitates Human Embryonic Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Proliferation 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27740.
The self-renewal capacity ascribed to hESCs is paralleled in cancer cell proliferation, suggesting that a common network of genes may facilitate the promotion of these traits. However, the molecular mechanisms that are involved in regulating the silencing of these genes as stem cells differentiate into quiescent cellular lineages remain poorly understood. Here, we show that a differentiated cell specific miR-122 exemplifies this regulatory attribute by suppressing the translation of a gene, Pkm2, which is commonly enriched in hESCs and liver cancer cells (HCCs), and facilitates self-renewal and proliferation. Through a series of gene expression analysis, we show that miR-122 expression is highly elevated in quiescent human primary hepatocytes (hPHs) but lost or attenuated in hESCs and HCCs, while an opposing expression pattern is observed for Pkm2. Depleting hESCs and HCCs of Pkm2, or overexpressing miR-122, leads to a common deficiency in self-renewal and proliferation. Likewise, during the differentiation process of hESCs into hepatocytes, a reciprocal expression pattern is observed between miR-122 and Pkm2. An examination of the genomic region upstream of miR-122 uncovered hyper-methylation in hESCs and HCCs, while the same region is de-methylated and occupied by a transcription initiating protein, RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), in hPHs. These findings indicate that one possible mechanism by which hESC self-renewal is modulated in quiescent hepatic derivatives of hESCs is through the regulatory activity of a differentiated cell-specific miR-122, and that a failure to properly turn “on” this miRNA is observed in uncontrollably proliferating HCCs.
PMCID: PMC3225380  PMID: 22140464
14.  L3MBTL2 protein acts in concert with PcG protein mediated monoubiquitination of H2A to establish a repressive chromatin structure 
Molecular cell  2011;42(4):438-450.
We have identified human MBT domain-containing protein L3MBTL2 as an integral component of a protein complex that we termed Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1)-like 4 (PRC1L4) given the co-presence of PcG proteins RING1, RING2 and PCGF6/MBLR. PRC1L4 also contained E2F6 and CBX3/ HPlγ known to function in transcriptional repression. PRCIL4-mediated repression necessitated L3MBTL2 that compacted chromatin in a histone modification-independent manner. Genome-wide location analyses identified several hundred genes simultaneously bound by L3MBTL2 and E2F6, preferentially around transcriptional start sites that exhibited little overlap with those targeted by other E2Fs or by L3MBTL1, another MBT-domain containing protein that interacts with RB1. L3MBTL2-specific RNAi resulted in increased expression of target genes that exhibited a significant reduction in H2A lysine 119 monoubiquitination. These findings highlight a PcG/MBT collaboration that attains repressive chromatin without entailing histone lysine methylation marks.
PMCID: PMC3142354  PMID: 21596310
15.  Functional Analysis of KAP1 Genomic Recruitment▿† 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(9):1833-1847.
TRIM28 (KAP1) is upregulated in many cancers and has been implicated in both transcriptional activation and repression. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing, we show that KAP1 binding sites fall into several categories, specifically, the 3′ coding exons of zinc finger (ZNF) genes and promoter regions of ZNFs and other genes. The currently accepted model is that KAP1 is recruited to the genome via interaction of its N-terminal RBCC domain with KRAB ZNFs (KRAB domain containing ZNFs). To determine whether the interaction of KAP1 with KRAB ZNFs is the mechanism by which KAP1 is recruited to genomic binding sites, we analyzed stable cell lines that express tagged wild-type and mutant KAP1. Surprisingly, deletion of the RBCC domain abolished KAP1 binding to the 3′ exons of ZNF genes but KAP1 binding to promoter regions was unaffected. Using KAP1 knockdown cells, we showed that the genes most responsive to KAP1 were not ZNF genes but instead were either indirect targets or had KAP1 bound 10 to 100 kb from the transcription start site. Therefore, our studies suggest that KAP1 plays a role distinct from transcriptional regulation at the majority of its strongest binding sites.
PMCID: PMC3133220  PMID: 21343339
16.  KAP1 Protein: An Enigmatic Master Regulator of the Genome* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;286(30):26267-26276.
In mammalian cells, multiple cellular processes, including gene silencing, cell growth and differentiation, pluripotency, neoplastic transformation, apoptosis, DNA repair, and maintenance of genomic integrity, converge on the evolutionarily conserved protein KAP1, which is thought to regulate the dynamic organization of chromatin structure via its ability to influence epigenetic patterns and chromatin compaction. In this minireview, we discuss how KAP1 might execute such pleiotropic effects, focusing on genomic targeting mechanisms, protein-protein interactions, specific post-translational modifications of both KAP1 and associated histones, and transcriptome analyses of cells deficient in KAP1.
PMCID: PMC3143589  PMID: 21652716
Chromatin Histone Modification; Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP); Epigenetics; Transcription Factors; Transcriptional Repressor; Zinc Finger; ChIP-seq; KAP1; TIF1B; TRIM28
17.  Comparison of sequencing-based methods to profile DNA methylation and identification of monoallelic epigenetic modifications 
Nature biotechnology  2010;28(10):1097-1105.
Sequencing-based DNA methylation profiling methods are comprehensive and, as accuracy and affordability improve, will increasingly supplant microarrays for genome-scale analyses. Here, four sequencing-based methodologies were applied to biological replicates of human embryonic stem cells to compare their CpG coverage genome-wide and in transposons, resolution, cost, concordance and its relationship with CpG density and genomic context. The two bisulfite methods reached concordance of 82% for CpG methylation levels and 99% for non-CpG cytosine methylation levels. Using binary methylation calls, two enrichment methods were 99% concordant, while regions assessed by all four methods were 97% concordant. To achieve comprehensive methylome coverage while reducing cost, an approach integrating two complementary methods was examined. The integrative methylome profile along with histone methylation, RNA, and SNP profiles derived from the sequence reads allowed genome-wide assessment of allele-specific epigenetic states, identifying most known imprinted regions and new loci with monoallelic epigenetic marks and monoallelic expression.
PMCID: PMC2955169  PMID: 20852635
DNA methylation; Sequencing; Bisulfite
18.  Characterization of the Contradictory Chromatin Signatures at the 3′ Exons of Zinc Finger Genes 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17121.
The H3K9me3 histone modification is often found at promoter regions, where it functions to repress transcription. However, we have previously shown that 3′ exons of zinc finger genes (ZNFs) are marked by high levels of H3K9me3. We have now further investigated this unusual location for H3K9me3 in ZNF genes. Neither bioinformatic nor experimental approaches support the hypothesis that the 3′ exons of ZNFs are promoters. We further characterized the histone modifications at the 3′ ZNF exons and found that these regions also contain H3K36me3, a mark of transcriptional elongation. A genome-wide analysis of ChIP-seq data revealed that ZNFs constitute the majority of genes that have high levels of both H3K9me3 and H3K36me3. These results suggested the possibility that the ZNF genes may be imprinted, with one allele transcribed and one allele repressed. To test the hypothesis that the contradictory modifications are due to imprinting, we used a SNP analysis of RNA-seq data to demonstrate that both alleles of certain ZNF genes having H3K9me3 and H3K36me3 are transcribed. We next analyzed isolated ZNF 3′ exons using stably integrated episomes. We found that although the H3K36me3 mark was lost when the 3′ ZNF exon was removed from its natural genomic location, the isolated ZNF 3′ exons retained the H3K9me3 mark. Thus, the H3K9me3 mark at ZNF 3′ exons does not impede transcription and it is regulated independently of the H3K36me3 mark. Finally, we demonstrate a strong relationship between the number of tandemly repeated domains in the 3′ exons and the H3K9me3 mark. We suggest that the H3K9me3 at ZNF 3′ exons may function to protect the genome from inappropriate recombination rather than to regulate transcription.
PMCID: PMC3039671  PMID: 21347206
19.  Genome-wide Analysis of Transcription Factor E2F1 Mutant Proteins Reveals That N- and C-terminal Protein Interaction Domains Do Not Participate in Targeting E2F1 to the Human Genome* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2011;286(14):11985-11996.
Previous studies of E2F family members have suggested that protein-protein interactions may be the mechanism by which E2F proteins are recruited to specific genomic regions. We have addressed this hypothesis on a genome-wide scale using ChIP-seq analysis of MCF7 cell lines that express tagged wild type and mutant E2F1 proteins. First, we performed ChIP-seq for tagged WT E2F1. Then, we analyzed E2F1 proteins that lacked the N-terminal SP1 and cyclin A binding domains, the C-terminal transactivation and pocket protein binding domains, and the internal marked box domain. Surprisingly, we found that the ChIP-seq patterns of the mutant proteins were identical to that of WT E2F1. However, mutation of the DNA binding domain abrogated all E2F1 binding to the genome. These results suggested that the interaction between the E2F1 DNA binding domain and a consensus motif may be the primary determinant of E2F1 recruitment. To address this possibility, we analyzed the in vivo binding sites for the in vitro-derived consensus E2F1 motif (TTTSSCGC) and also performed de novo motif analysis. We found that only 12% of the ChIP-seq peaks contained the TTTSSCGC motif. De novo motif analysis indicated that most of the in vivo sites lacked the 5′ half of the in vitro-derived consensus, having instead the in vivo consensus of CGCGC. In summary, our findings do not provide support for the model that protein-protein interactions are involved in recruiting E2F1 to the genome, but rather suggest that recognition of a motif found at most human promoters is the critical determinant.
PMCID: PMC3069401  PMID: 21310950
Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP); DNA Binding Protein; E2F Transcription Factor; Transcription Promoter; Transcription Regulation
20.  ZNF274 Recruits the Histone Methyltransferase SETDB1 to the 3′ Ends of ZNF Genes 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(12):e15082.
Only a small percentage of human transcription factors (e.g. those associated with a specific differentiation program) are expressed in a given cell type. Thus, cell fate is mainly determined by cell type-specific silencing of transcription factors that drive different cellular lineages. Several histone modifications have been associated with gene silencing, including H3K27me3 and H3K9me3. We have previously shown that genes for the two largest classes of mammalian transcription factors are marked by distinct histone modifications; homeobox genes are marked by H3K27me3 and zinc finger genes are marked by H3K9me3. Several histone methyltransferases (e.g. G9a and SETDB1) may be involved in mediating the H3K9me3 silencing mark. We have used ChIP-chip and ChIP-seq to demonstrate that SETDB1, but not G9a, is associated with regions of the genome enriched for H3K9me3. One current model is that SETDB1 is recruited to specific genomic locations via interaction with the corepressor TRIM28 (KAP1), which is in turn recruited to the genome via interaction with zinc finger transcription factors that contain a Kruppel-associated box (KRAB) domain. However, specific KRAB-ZNFs that recruit TRIM28 (KAP1) and SETDB1 to the genome have not been identified. We now show that ZNF274 (a KRAB-ZNF that contains 5 C2H2 zinc finger domains), can interact with KAP1 both in vivo and in vitro and, using ChIP-seq, we show that ZNF274 binding sites co-localize with SETDB1, KAP1, and H3K9me3 at the 3′ ends of zinc finger genes. Knockdown of ZNF274 with siRNAs reduced the levels of KAP1 and SETDB1 recruitment to the binding sites. These studies provide the first identification of a KRAB domain-containing ZNF that is involved in recruitment of the KAP1 and SETDB1 to specific regions of the human genome.
PMCID: PMC2999557  PMID: 21170338
21.  Genome-wide binding of the orphan nuclear receptor TR4 suggests its general role in fundamental biological processes 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:689.
The orphan nuclear receptor TR4 (human testicular receptor 4 or NR2C2) plays a pivotal role in a variety of biological and metabolic processes. With no known ligand and few known target genes, the mode of TR4 function was unclear.
We report the first genome-wide identification and characterization of TR4 in vivo binding. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), we identified TR4 binding sites in 4 different human cell types and found that the majority of target genes were shared among different cells. TR4 target genes are involved in fundamental biological processes such as RNA metabolism and protein translation. In addition, we found that a subset of TR4 target genes exerts cell-type specific functions. Analysis of the TR4 binding sites revealed that less than 30% of the peaks from any of the cell types contained the DR1 motif previously derived from in vitro studies, suggesting that TR4 may be recruited to the genome via interaction with other proteins. A bioinformatics analysis of the TR4 binding sites predicted a cis regulatory module involving TR4 and ETS transcription factors. To test this prediction, we performed ChIP-seq for the ETS factor ELK4 and found that 30% of TR4 binding sites were also bound by ELK4. Motif analysis of the sites bound by both factors revealed a lack of the DR1 element, suggesting that TR4 binding at a subset of sites is facilitated through the ETS transcription factor ELK4. Further studies will be required to investigate the functional interdependence of these two factors.
Our data suggest that TR4 plays a pivotal role in fundamental biological processes across different cell types. In addition, the identification of cell type specific TR4 binding sites enables future studies of the pathways underlying TR4 action and its possible role in metabolic diseases.
PMCID: PMC3019231  PMID: 21126370
22.  Discovering Hematopoietic Mechanisms Through Genome-Wide Analysis of GATA Factor Chromatin Occupancy 
Molecular cell  2009;36(4):667-681.
GATA factors interact with simple DNA motifs (WGATAR) to regulate critical processes, including hematopoiesis, but very few WGATAR motifs are occupied in genomes. Given the rudimentary knowledge of mechanisms underlying this restriction, and how GATA factors establish genetic networks, we used ChIP-seq to define GATA-1 and GATA-2 occupancy genome-wide in erythroid cells. Coupled with genetic complementation analysis and transcriptional profiling, these studies revealed a rich collection of targets containing a characteristic binding motif of greater complexity than WGATAR. GATA factors occupied loci encoding multiple components of the Scl/TAL1 complex, a master regulator of hematopoiesis and leukemogenic target. Mechanistic analyses provided evidence for cross-regulatory and autoregulatory interactions among components of this complex, including GATA-2 induction of the hematopoietic corepressor ETO-2 and an ETO-2 negative autoregulatory loop. These results establish fundamental principles underlying GATA factor mechanisms in chromatin and illustrate a complex network of considerable importance for the control of hematopoiesis.
PMCID: PMC2784893  PMID: 19941826
Nature reviews. Genetics  2009;10(9):605-616.
A crucial question in the field of gene regulation is whether the location at which a transcription factor binds influences its effectiveness or the mechanism by which it regulates transcription. Comprehensive transcription factor binding maps are needed to address these issues, and genome-wide mapping is now possible thanks to the technological advances of ChIP-chip and ChIP-Seq. This review discusses how recent genomic profiling of transcription factors gives insight into how binding specificity is achieved and what features of chromatin influence the ability of transcription factors to interact with the genome, and also suggests future experiments to further our understanding of the causes and consequences of transcription factor-genome interactions.
PMCID: PMC2846386  PMID: 19668247
24.  N-Myc regulates a widespread euchromatic program in the human genome partially independent of its role as a classical transcription factor 
Cancer research  2008;68(23):9654-9662.
Myc proteins have long been modeled to operate strictly as classical gene specific transcription factors, however we find that N-Myc has a robust role in the human genome in regulating global cellular euchromatin including that of intergenic regions. Strikingly, 90–95% of the total genomic euchromatic marks histone H3 acetylated at lysine 9 and methylated at lysine 4 is N-Myc dependent. However, Myc regulation of transcription, even of genes it directly binds and at which it is required for maintenance of active chromatin, is generally weak. Thus, Myc has a much more potent ability to regulate large domains of euchromatin than to influence transcription of individual genes. Overall, Myc regulation of chromatin in the human genome includes both specific genes, but also expansive genomic domains that invoke functions independent of a classical transcription factor. These findings support a new dual model for Myc chromatin function with important implications for the role of Myc in cancer and stem cell biology, including that of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
PMCID: PMC2637654  PMID: 19047142
Myc; global chromatin; intergenic; neuroblastoma; stem cell; iPS
25.  Sole-Search: an integrated analysis program for peak detection and functional annotation using ChIP-seq data 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(3):e13.
Next-generation sequencing is revolutionizing the identification of transcription factor binding sites throughout the human genome. However, the bioinformatics analysis of large datasets collected using chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing is often a roadblock that impedes researchers in their attempts to gain biological insights from their experiments. We have developed integrated peak-calling and analysis software (Sole-Search) which is available through a user-friendly interface and (i) converts raw data into a format for visualization on a genome browser, (ii) outputs ranked peak locations using a statistically based method that overcomes the significant problem of false positives, (iii) identifies the gene nearest to each peak, (iv) classifies the location of each peak relative to gene structure, (v) provides information such as the number of binding sites per chromosome and per gene and (vi) allows the user to determine overlap between two different experiments. In addition, the program performs an analysis of amplified and deleted regions of the input genome. This software is web-based and automated, allowing easy and immediate access to all investigators. We demonstrate the utility of our software by collecting, analyzing and comparing ChIP-seq data for six different human transcription factors/cell line combinations.
PMCID: PMC2817454  PMID: 19906703

Results 1-25 (40)