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Nat Genet. 2011 Dec 4;44(1):89-93. doi: 10.1038/ng.1006.

Large-scale discovery of enhancers from human heart tissue.

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Genomics Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, USA.


Development and function of the human heart depend on the dynamic control of tissue-specific gene expression by distant-acting transcriptional enhancers. To generate an accurate genome-wide map of human heart enhancers, we used an epigenomic enhancer discovery approach and identified ∼6,200 candidate enhancer sequences directly from fetal and adult human heart tissue. Consistent with their predicted function, these elements were markedly enriched near genes implicated in heart development, function and disease. To further validate their in vivo enhancer activity, we tested 65 of these human sequences in a transgenic mouse enhancer assay and observed that 43 (66%) drove reproducible reporter gene expression in the heart. These results support the discovery of a genome-wide set of noncoding sequences highly enriched in human heart enhancers that is likely to facilitate downstream studies of the role of enhancers in development and pathological conditions of the heart.

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