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  • Abstract Background Recent advances in sequencing technology have opened a new era in RNA studies. Novel types of RNAs such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been discovered by transcriptomic sequencing and some lncRNAs have been found to play essential roles in biological processes. However, only limited information is available for lncRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster, an important model organism. Therefore, the characterization of lncRNAs and identification of new lncRNAs in D. melanogaster is an important area of research. Moreover, there is an increasing interest in the use of ChIP-seq data (H3K4me3, H3K36me3 and Pol II) to detect signatures of active transcription for reported lncRNAs. Results We have developed a computational approach to identify new lncRNAs from two tissue-specific RNA-seq datasets using the poly(A)-enriched and the ribo-zero method, respectively. In our results, we identified 462 novel lncRNA transcripts, which we combined with 4137 previously published lncRNA transcripts into a curated dataset. We then utilized 61 RNA-seq and 32 ChIP-seq datasets to improve the annotation of the curated lncRNAs with regards to transcriptional direction, exon regions, classification, expression in the brain, possession of a poly(A) tail, and presence of conventional chromatin signatures. Furthermore, we used 30 time-course RNA-seq datasets and 32 ChIP-seq datasets to investigate whether the lncRNAs reported by RNA-seq have active transcription signatures. The results showed that more than half of the reported lncRNAs did not have chromatin signatures related to active transcription. To clarify this issue, we conducted RT-qPCR experiments and found that ~95.24Â % of the selected lncRNAs were truly transcribed, regardless of whether they were associated with active chromatin signatures or not. Conclusions In this study, we discovered a large number of novel lncRNAs, which suggests that many remain to be identified in D. melanogaster. For the lncRNAs that are known, we improved their characterization by integrating a large number of sequencing datasets (93 sets in total) from multiple sources (lncRNAs, RNA-seq and ChIP-seq). The RT-qPCR experiments demonstrated that RNA-seq is a reliable platform to discover lncRNAs. This set of curated lncRNAs with improved annotations can serve as an important resource for investigating the function of lncRNAs in D. melanogaster.
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  • Abstract Background Recent advances in sequencing technology have opened a new era in RNA studies. Novel types of RNAs such as long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been discovered by transcriptomic sequencing and some lncRNAs have been found to play essential roles in biological processes. However, only limited information is available for lncRNAs in Drosophila melanogaster, an important model organism. Therefore, the characterization of lncRNAs and identification of new lncRNAs in D. melanogaster is an important area of research. Moreover, there is an increasing interest in the use of ChIP-seq data (H3K4me3, H3K36me3 and Pol II) to detect signatures of active transcription for reported lncRNAs. Results We have developed a computational approach to identify new lncRNAs from two tissue-specific RNA-seq datasets using the poly(A)-enriched and the ribo-zero method, respectively. In our results, we identified 462 novel lncRNA transcripts, which we combined with 4137 previously published lncRNA transcripts into a curated dataset. We then utilized 61 RNA-seq and 32 ChIP-seq datasets to improve the annotation of the curated lncRNAs with regards to transcriptional direction, exon regions, classification, expression in the brain, possession of a poly(A) tail, and presence of conventional chromatin signatures. Furthermore, we used 30 time-course RNA-seq datasets and 32 ChIP-seq datasets to investigate whether the lncRNAs reported by RNA-seq have active transcription signatures. The results showed that more than half of the reported lncRNAs did not have chromatin signatures related to active transcription. To clarify this issue, we conducted RT-qPCR experiments and found that ~95.24Â % of the selected lncRNAs were truly transcribed, regardless of whether they were associated with active chromatin signatures or not. Conclusions In this study, we discovered a large number of novel lncRNAs, which suggests that many remain to be identified in D. melanogaster. For the lncRNAs that are known, we improved their characterization by integrating a large number of sequencing datasets (93 sets in total) from multiple sources (lncRNAs, RNA-seq and ChIP-seq). The RT-qPCR experiments demonstrated that RNA-seq is a reliable platform to discover lncRNAs. This set of curated lncRNAs with improved annotations can serve as an important resource for investigating the function of lncRNAs in D. melanogaster.
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  • Abstract Background Epigenetic mechanisms play fundamental roles in brain function and behavior and stressors such as social isolation can alter animal behavior via epigenetic mechanisms. However, due to cellular heterogeneity, identifying cell-type-specific epigenetic changes in the brain is challenging. Here, we report the first use of a modified isolation of nuclei tagged in specific cell type (INTACT) method in behavioral epigenetics of Drosophila melanogaster, a method we call mini-INTACT. Results Using ChIP-seq on mini-INTACT purified dopaminergic nuclei, we identified epigenetic signatures in socially isolated and socially enriched Drosophila males. Social experience altered the epigenetic landscape in clusters of genes involved in transcription and neural function. Some of these alterations could be predicted by expression changes of four transcription factors and the prevalence of their binding sites in several clusters. These transcription factors were previously identified as activity-regulated genes, and their knockdown in dopaminergic neurons reduced the effects of social experience on sleep. Conclusions Our work enables the use of Drosophila as a model for cell-type-specific behavioral epigenetics and establishes that social environment shifts the epigenetic landscape in dopaminergic neurons. Four activity-related transcription factors are required in dopaminergic neurons for the effects of social environment on sleep.
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  • Abstract Background Epigenetic mechanisms play fundamental roles in brain function and behavior and stressors such as social isolation can alter animal behavior via epigenetic mechanisms. However, due to cellular heterogeneity, identifying cell-type-specific epigenetic changes in the brain is challenging. Here, we report the first use of a modified isolation of nuclei tagged in specific cell type (INTACT) method in behavioral epigenetics of Drosophila melanogaster, a method we call mini-INTACT. Results Using ChIP-seq on mini-INTACT purified dopaminergic nuclei, we identified epigenetic signatures in socially isolated and socially enriched Drosophila males. Social experience altered the epigenetic landscape in clusters of genes involved in transcription and neural function. Some of these alterations could be predicted by expression changes of four transcription factors and the prevalence of their binding sites in several clusters. These transcription factors were previously identified as activity-regulated genes, and their knockdown in dopaminergic neurons reduced the effects of social experience on sleep. Conclusions Our work enables the use of Drosophila as a model for cell-type-specific behavioral epigenetics and establishes that social environment shifts the epigenetic landscape in dopaminergic neurons. Four activity-related transcription factors are required in dopaminergic neurons for the effects of social environment on sleep.
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  • Abstract Background Brahma (BRM) is the only catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex of Drosophila melanogaster. The function of SWI/SNF in transcription has long been attributed to its ability to remodel nucleosomes, which requires the ATPase activity of BRM. However, recent studies have provided evidence for a non-catalytic function of BRM in the transcriptional regulation of a few specific genes. Results Here we have used RNA-seq and ChIP-seq to identify the BRM target genes in S2 cells, and we have used a catalytically inactive BRM mutant (K804R) that is unable to hydrolyze ATP to investigate the magnitude of the non-catalytic function of BRM in transcription regulation. We show that 49% of the BRM target genes in S2 cells are regulated through mechanisms that do not require BRM to have an ATPase activity. We also show that the catalytic and non-catalytic mechanisms of SWI/SNF regulation operate on two subsets of genes that differ in promoter architecture and are linked to different biological processes. Conclusions This study shows that the non-catalytic role of SWI/SNF in transcription regulation is far more prevalent than previously anticipated and that the genes that are regulated by SWI/SNF through ATPase-dependent and ATPase-independent mechanisms have specialized roles in different cellular and developmental processes.
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  • Abstract Background Brahma (BRM) is the only catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex of Drosophila melanogaster. The function of SWI/SNF in transcription has long been attributed to its ability to remodel nucleosomes, which requires the ATPase activity of BRM. However, recent studies have provided evidence for a non-catalytic function of BRM in the transcriptional regulation of a few specific genes. Results Here we have used RNA-seq and ChIP-seq to identify the BRM target genes in S2 cells, and we have used a catalytically inactive BRM mutant (K804R) that is unable to hydrolyze ATP to investigate the magnitude of the non-catalytic function of BRM in transcription regulation. We show that 49% of the BRM target genes in S2 cells are regulated through mechanisms that do not require BRM to have an ATPase activity. We also show that the catalytic and non-catalytic mechanisms of SWI/SNF regulation operate on two subsets of genes that differ in promoter architecture and are linked to different biological processes. Conclusions This study shows that the non-catalytic role of SWI/SNF in transcription regulation is far more prevalent than previously anticipated and that the genes that are regulated by SWI/SNF through ATPase-dependent and ATPase-independent mechanisms have specialized roles in different cellular and developmental processes.
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  • Abstract Background Drosophila dorso-ventral (DV) patterning is one of the best-understood regulatory networks to date, and illustrates the fundamental role of enhancers in controlling patterning, cell fate specification, and morphogenesis during development. Histone acetylation such as H3K27ac is an excellent marker for active enhancers, but it is challenging to obtain precise locations for enhancers as the highest levels of this modification flank the enhancer regions. How to best identify tissue-specific enhancers in a developmental system de novo with a minimal set of data is still unclear. Results Using DV patterning as a test system, we develop a simple and effective method to identify tissue-specific enhancers de novo. We sample a broad set of candidate enhancer regions using data on CREB-binding protein co-factor binding or ATAC-seq chromatin accessibility, and then identify those regions with significant differences in histone acetylation between tissues. This method identifies hundreds of novel DV enhancers and outperforms ChIP-seq data of relevant transcription factors when benchmarked with mRNA expression data and transgenic reporter assays. These DV enhancers allow the de novo discovery of the relevant transcription factor motifs involved in DV patterning and contain additional motifs that are evolutionarily conserved and for which the corresponding transcription factors are expressed in a DV-biased fashion. Finally, we identify novel target genes of the regulatory network, implicating morphogenesis genes as early targets of DV patterning. Conclusions Taken together, our approach has expanded our knowledge of the DV patterning network even further and is a general method to identify enhancers in any developmental system, including mammalian development.
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  • Abstract Background Drosophila dorso-ventral (DV) patterning is one of the best-understood regulatory networks to date, and illustrates the fundamental role of enhancers in controlling patterning, cell fate specification, and morphogenesis during development. Histone acetylation such as H3K27ac is an excellent marker for active enhancers, but it is challenging to obtain precise locations for enhancers as the highest levels of this modification flank the enhancer regions. How to best identify tissue-specific enhancers in a developmental system de novo with a minimal set of data is still unclear. Results Using DV patterning as a test system, we develop a simple and effective method to identify tissue-specific enhancers de novo. We sample a broad set of candidate enhancer regions using data on CREB-binding protein co-factor binding or ATAC-seq chromatin accessibility, and then identify those regions with significant differences in histone acetylation between tissues. This method identifies hundreds of novel DV enhancers and outperforms ChIP-seq data of relevant transcription factors when benchmarked with mRNA expression data and transgenic reporter assays. These DV enhancers allow the de novo discovery of the relevant transcription factor motifs involved in DV patterning and contain additional motifs that are evolutionarily conserved and for which the corresponding transcription factors are expressed in a DV-biased fashion. Finally, we identify novel target genes of the regulatory network, implicating morphogenesis genes as early targets of DV patterning. Conclusions Taken together, our approach has expanded our knowledge of the DV patterning network even further and is a general method to identify enhancers in any developmental system, including mammalian development.
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  • Abstract Background Infection by the human malaria parasite leads to important changes in mosquito phenotypic traits related to vector competence. However, we still lack a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms and, in particular, of the epigenetic basis for these changes. We have examined genome-wide distribution maps of H3K27ac, H3K9ac, H3K9me3 and H3K4me3 by ChIP-seq and the transcriptome by RNA-seq, of midguts from Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes blood-fed uninfected and infected with natural isolates of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in Burkina Faso. Results We report 15,916 regions containing differential histone modification enrichment between infected and uninfected, of which 8339 locate at promoters and/or intersect with genes. The functional annotation of these regions allowed us to identify infection-responsive genes showing differential enrichment in various histone modifications, such as CLIP proteases, antimicrobial peptides-encoding genes, and genes related to melanization responses and the complement system. Further, the motif analysis of regions differentially enriched in various histone modifications predicts binding sites that might be involved in the cis-regulation of these regions, such as Deaf1, Pangolin and Dorsal transcription factors (TFs). Some of these TFs are known to regulate immunity gene expression in Drosophila and are involved in the Notch and JAK/STAT signaling pathways. Conclusions The analysis of malaria infection-induced chromatin changes in mosquitoes is important not only to identify regulatory elements and genes underlying mosquito responses to P. falciparum infection, but also for possible applications to the genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and to other mosquito-borne systems.
    Data Types:
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  • Abstract Background Infection by the human malaria parasite leads to important changes in mosquito phenotypic traits related to vector competence. However, we still lack a clear understanding of the underlying mechanisms and, in particular, of the epigenetic basis for these changes. We have examined genome-wide distribution maps of H3K27ac, H3K9ac, H3K9me3 and H3K4me3 by ChIP-seq and the transcriptome by RNA-seq, of midguts from Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes blood-fed uninfected and infected with natural isolates of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum in Burkina Faso. Results We report 15,916 regions containing differential histone modification enrichment between infected and uninfected, of which 8339 locate at promoters and/or intersect with genes. The functional annotation of these regions allowed us to identify infection-responsive genes showing differential enrichment in various histone modifications, such as CLIP proteases, antimicrobial peptides-encoding genes, and genes related to melanization responses and the complement system. Further, the motif analysis of regions differentially enriched in various histone modifications predicts binding sites that might be involved in the cis-regulation of these regions, such as Deaf1, Pangolin and Dorsal transcription factors (TFs). Some of these TFs are known to regulate immunity gene expression in Drosophila and are involved in the Notch and JAK/STAT signaling pathways. Conclusions The analysis of malaria infection-induced chromatin changes in mosquitoes is important not only to identify regulatory elements and genes underlying mosquito responses to P. falciparum infection, but also for possible applications to the genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and to other mosquito-borne systems.
    Data Types:
    • Collection