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1.  Integrative analysis of public ChIP-seq experiments reveals a complex multi-cell regulatory landscape 
Nucleic Acids Research  2014;43(4):e27.
The large collections of ChIP-seq data rapidly accumulating in public data warehouses provide genome-wide binding site maps for hundreds of transcription factors (TFs). However, the extent of the regulatory occupancy space in the human genome has not yet been fully apprehended by integrating public ChIP-seq data sets and combining it with ENCODE TFs map. To enable genome-wide identification of regulatory elements we have collected, analysed and retained 395 available ChIP-seq data sets merged with ENCODE peaks covering a total of 237 TFs. This enhanced repertoire complements and refines current genome-wide occupancy maps by increasing the human genome regulatory search space by 14% compared to ENCODE alone, and also increases the complexity of the regulatory dictionary. As a direct application we used this unified binding repertoire to annotate variant enhancer loci (VELs) from H3K4me1 mark in two cancer cell lines (MCF-7, CRC) and observed enrichments of specific TFs involved in biological key functions to cancer development and proliferation. Those enrichments of TFs within VELs provide a direct annotation of non-coding regions detected in cancer genomes. Finally, full access to this catalogue is available online together with the TFs enrichment analysis tool (
PMCID: PMC4344487  PMID: 25477382
2.  Divergent transcription is associated with promoters of transcriptional regulators 
BMC Genomics  2013;14:914.
Divergent transcription is a wide-spread phenomenon in mammals. For instance, short bidirectional transcripts are a hallmark of active promoters, while longer transcripts can be detected antisense from active genes in conditions where the RNA degradation machinery is inhibited. Moreover, many described long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are transcribed antisense from coding gene promoters. However, the general significance of divergent lncRNA/mRNA gene pair transcription is still poorly understood. Here, we used strand-specific RNA-seq with high sequencing depth to thoroughly identify antisense transcripts from coding gene promoters in primary mouse tissues.
We found that a substantial fraction of coding-gene promoters sustain divergent transcription of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA)/mRNA gene pairs. Strikingly, upstream antisense transcription is significantly associated with genes related to transcriptional regulation and development. Their promoters share several characteristics with those of transcriptional developmental genes, including very large CpG islands, high degree of conservation and epigenetic regulation in ES cells. In-depth analysis revealed a unique GC skew profile at these promoter regions, while the associated coding genes were found to have large first exons, two genomic features that might enforce bidirectional transcription. Finally, genes associated with antisense transcription harbor specific H3K79me2 epigenetic marking and RNA polymerase II enrichment profiles linked to an intensified rate of early transcriptional elongation.
We concluded that promoters of a class of transcription regulators are characterized by a specialized transcriptional control mechanism, which is directly coupled to relaxed bidirectional transcription.
PMCID: PMC3882496  PMID: 24365181
Divergent transcription; lncRNA; Bidirectional promoter; GC skew; Developmental transcription factor
3.  A Comprehensive Analysis of Gene Expression Changes Provoked by Bacterial and Fungal Infection in C. elegans 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e19055.
While Caenorhabditis elegans specifically responds to infection by the up-regulation of certain genes, distinct pathogens trigger the expression of a common set of genes. We applied new methods to conduct a comprehensive and comparative study of the transcriptional response of C. elegans to bacterial and fungal infection. Using tiling arrays and/or RNA-sequencing, we have characterized the genome-wide transcriptional changes that underlie the host's response to infection by three bacterial (Serratia marcescens, Enterococcus faecalis and otorhabdus luminescens) and two fungal pathogens (Drechmeria coniospora and Harposporium sp.). We developed a flexible tool, the WormBase Converter (available at, to allow cross-study comparisons. The new data sets provided more extensive lists of differentially regulated genes than previous studies. Annotation analysis confirmed that genes commonly up-regulated by bacterial infections are related to stress responses. We found substantial overlaps between the genes regulated upon intestinal infection by the bacterial pathogens and Harposporium, and between those regulated by Harposporium and D. coniospora, which infects the epidermis. Among the fungus-regulated genes, there was a significant bias towards genes that are evolving rapidly and potentially encode small proteins. The results obtained using new methods reveal that the response to infection in C. elegans is determined by the nature of the pathogen, the site of infection and the physiological imbalance provoked by infection. They form the basis for future functional dissection of innate immune signaling. Finally, we also propose alternative methods to identify differentially regulated genes that take into account the greater variability in lowly expressed genes.
PMCID: PMC3094335  PMID: 21602919

Results 1-3 (3)