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Nat Commun. 2013;4:1844. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2872.

GATA simple sequence repeats function as enhancer blocker boundaries.

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Center for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007, India.


Simple sequence repeats (SSRs) account for ~3% of the human genome, but their functional significance still remains unclear. One of the prominent SSRs the GATA tetranucleotide repeat has preferentially accumulated in complex organisms. GATA repeats are particularly enriched on the human Y chromosome, and their non-random distribution and exclusive association with genes expressed during early development indicate their role in coordinated gene regulation. Here we show that GATA repeats have enhancer blocker activity in Drosophila and human cells. This enhancer blocker activity is seen in transgenic as well as native context of the enhancers at various developmental stages. These findings ascribe functional significance to SSRs and offer an explanation as to why SSRs, especially GATA, may have accumulated in complex organisms.

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