Send to

Choose Destination
Genome Res. 2019 Sep;29(9):1402-1414. doi: 10.1101/gr.249789.119. Epub 2019 Aug 14.

Genome-wide analysis of polymerase III-transcribed Alu elements suggests cell-type-specific enhancer function.

Author information

Program in Bioinformatics and Integrative Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.
Functional Genomics, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, New York 11724, USA.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts 01605, USA.


Alu elements are one of the most successful families of transposons in the human genome. A portion of Alu elements is transcribed by RNA Pol III, whereas the remaining ones are part of Pol II transcripts. Because Alu elements are highly repetitive, it has been difficult to identify the Pol III-transcribed elements and quantify their expression levels. In this study, we generated high-resolution, long-genomic-span RAMPAGE data in 155 biosamples all with matching RNA-seq data and built an atlas of 17,249 Pol III-transcribed Alu elements. We further performed an integrative analysis on the ChIP-seq data of 10 histone marks and hundreds of transcription factors, whole-genome bisulfite sequencing data, ChIA-PET data, and functional data in several biosamples, and our results revealed that although the human-specific Alu elements are transcriptionally repressed, the older, expressed Alu elements may be exapted by the human host to function as cell-type-specific enhancers for their nearby protein-coding genes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center