Send to

Choose Destination
Nat Biotechnol. 2003 Apr;21(4):379-86. Epub 2003 Mar 17.

Widespread occurrence of antisense transcription in the human genome.

Author information

Compugen Ltd., 72 Pinchas Rosen St., Tel Aviv 69512, Israel.


An increasing number of eukaryotic genes are being found to have naturally occurring antisense transcripts. Here we study the extent of antisense transcription in the human genome by analyzing the public databases of expressed sequences using a set of computational tools designed to identify sense-antisense transcriptional units on opposite DNA strands of the same genomic locus. The resulting data set of 2,667 sense-antisense pairs was evaluated by microarrays containing strand-specific oligonucleotide probes derived from the region of overlap. Verification of specific cases by northern blot analysis with strand-specific riboprobes proved transcription from both DNA strands. We conclude that > or =60% of this data set, or approximately 1,600 predicted sense-antisense transcriptional units, are transcribed from both DNA strands. This indicates that the occurrence of antisense transcription, usually regarded as infrequent, is a very common phenomenon in the human genome. Therefore, antisense modulation of gene expression in human cells may be a common regulatory mechanism.

Comment in

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center