Genome-Wide Definition of Promoter and Enhancer Usage during Neural Induction of Human Embryonic Stem Cells.

Poletti V, Delli Carri A, Malagoli Tagliazucchi G, Faedo A, Petiti L, Mazza EM, Peano C, De Bellis G, Bicciato S, Miccio A, Cattaneo E, Mavilio F.

Source : PLoS ONE

2016 Apr 15

Pmid : 25978676


Genome-wide mapping of transcriptional regulatory elements is an essential tool for understanding the molecular events orchestrating self-renewal, commitment and differentiation of stem cells. We combined high-throughput identification of transcription start sites with genome-wide profiling of histones modifications to map active promoters and enhancers in embryonic stem cells (ESCs) induced to neuroepithelial-like stem cells (NESCs). Our analysis showed that most promoters are active in both cell types while approximately half of the enhancers are cell-specific and account for most of the epigenetic changes occurring during neural induction, and most likely for the modulation of the promoters to generate cell-specific gene expression programs. Interestingly, the majority of the promoters activated or up-regulated during neural induction have a "bivalent" histone modification signature in ESCs, suggesting that developmentally-regulated promoters are already poised for transcription in ESCs, which are apparently pre-committed to neuroectodermal differentiation. Overall, our study provides a collection of differentially used enhancers, promoters, transcription starts sites, protein-coding and non-coding RNAs in human ESCs and ESC-derived NESCs, and a broad, genome-wide description of promoter and enhancer usage and of gene expression programs characterizing the transition from a pluripotent to a neural-restricted cell fate.

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