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PLoS Comput Biol. 2012;8(4):e1002486. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002486. Epub 2012 Apr 26.

Microarray analysis of LTR retrotransposon silencing identifies Hdac1 as a regulator of retrotransposon expression in mouse embryonic stem cells.

Author information

  • 1MRC Human Genetics Unit, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, Western General Hospital, Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

Abstract

Retrotransposons are highly prevalent in mammalian genomes due to their ability to amplify in pluripotent cells or developing germ cells. Host mechanisms that silence retrotransposons in germ cells and pluripotent cells are important for limiting the accumulation of the repetitive elements in the genome during evolution. However, although silencing of selected individual retrotransposons can be relatively well-studied, many mammalian retrotransposons are seldom analysed and their silencing in germ cells, pluripotent cells or somatic cells remains poorly understood. Here we show, and experimentally verify, that cryptic repetitive element probes present in Illumina and Affymetrix gene expression microarray platforms can accurately and sensitively monitor repetitive element expression data. This computational approach to genome-wide retrotransposon expression has allowed us to identify the histone deacetylase Hdac1 as a component of the retrotransposon silencing machinery in mouse embryonic stem cells, and to determine the retrotransposon targets of Hdac1 in these cells. We also identify retrotransposons that are targets of other retrotransposon silencing mechanisms such as DNA methylation, Eset-mediated histone modification, and Ring1B/Eed-containing polycomb repressive complexes in mouse embryonic stem cells. Furthermore, our computational analysis of retrotransposon silencing suggests that multiple silencing mechanisms are independently targeted to retrotransposons in embryonic stem cells, that different genomic copies of the same retrotransposon can be differentially sensitive to these silencing mechanisms, and helps define retrotransposon sequence elements that are targeted by silencing machineries. Thus repeat annotation of gene expression microarray data suggests that a complex interplay between silencing mechanisms represses retrotransposon loci in germ cells and embryonic stem cells.

PMID:
22570599
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3343110
Free PMC Article

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