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Genome Res. 2010 Nov;20(11):1493-502. doi: 10.1101/gr.109389.110. Epub 2010 Sep 14.

A unique H3K4me2 profile marks tissue-specific gene regulation.

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Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, Université Aix Marseille, Marseille 13009, France.


Characterization of the epigenetic landscape fundamentally contributes toward deciphering the regulatory mechanisms that govern gene expression. However, despite an increasing flow of newly generated data, no clear pattern of chromatin modifications has so far been linked to specific modes of transcriptional regulation. Here, we used high-throughput genomic data from CD4(+) T lymphocytes to provide a comprehensive analysis of histone H3 lysine 4 dimethylation (H3K4me2) enrichment in genomic regions surrounding transcriptional start sites (TSSs). We discovered that a subgroup of genes linked to T cell functions displayed high levels of H3K4me2 within their gene body, in sharp contrast to the TSS-centered profile typical of housekeeping genes. Analysis of additional chromatin modifications and DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSS) revealed a combinatorial chromatin signature characteristic of this subgroup. We propose that this epigenetic feature reflects the activity of an as yet unrecognized, intragenic cis-regulatory platform dedicated to refining tissue-specificity in gene expression.

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