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Genome Res. 2011 Aug;21(8):1273-83. doi: 10.1101/gr.122382.111. Epub 2011 Jun 1.

Epigenetic signatures distinguish multiple classes of enhancers with distinct cellular functions.

Author information

  • 1Department of Genetics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106, USA.

Abstract

Epigenetic regulation of gene enhancer elements is important for establishing and maintaining the identity of cells. Gene enhancer elements are thought to exist in either active or poised states distinguishable by chromatin features, but a complete understanding of the regulation of enhancers is lacking. Here, by using mouse embryonic stem cells and their differentiated derivatives, as well as terminally differentiated cells, we report the coexistence of multiple, defined classes of enhancers that serve distinct cellular functions. Specifically, we found that active enhancers can be subclassified based on varying levels of H3K4me1, H3K27ac, and H3K36me3 and the pSer2/5 forms of RNA polymerase II. The abundance of these histone modifications positively correlates with the expression of associated genes and cellular functions consistent with the identity of the cell type. Poised enhancers can also be subclassified based on presence or absence of H3K27me3 and H3K9me3, conservation, genomic location, expression levels of associated genes, and predicted function of associated genes. These findings not only refine the repertoire of histone modifications at both active and poised gene enhancer elements but also raise the possibility that enhancers associated with distinct cellular functions are partitioned based on specific combinations of histone modifications.

PMID:
21632746
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3149494
Free PMC Article

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