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Integrated analysis sheds light on evolutionary trajectories of young transcription start sites in the human genome

Li, C; Lenhard, B; Luscombe, NM; (2018) Integrated analysis sheds light on evolutionary trajectories of young transcription start sites in the human genome. Genome Research , 28 (5) pp. 676-688. 10.1101/gr.231449.117. Green open access

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Abstract

Understanding the molecular mechanisms and evolution of the gene regulatory system remains a major challenge in biology. Transcription start sites (TSSs) are especially interesting because they are central to initiating gene expression. Previous studies revealed widespread transcription initiation and fast turnover of TSSs in mammalian genomes. Yet, how new TSSs originate and how they evolve over time remain poorly understood. To address these questions, we analyzed ∼200,000 human TSSs by integrating evolutionary (inter- and intra-species) and functional genomic data, particularly focusing on evolutionarily young TSSs that emerged in the primate lineage. TSSs were grouped according to their evolutionary age using sequence alignment information as a proxy. Comparisons of young and old TSSs revealed that (1) new TSSs emerge through a combination of intrinsic factors, like the sequence properties of transposable elements and tandem repeats, and extrinsic factors such as their proximity to existing regulatory modules; (2) new TSSs undergo rapid evolution that reduces the inherent instability of repeat sequences associated with a high propensity of TSS emergence; and (3) once established, the transcriptional competence of surviving TSSs is gradually enhanced, with evolutionary changes subject to temporal (fewer regulatory changes in younger TSSs) and spatial constraints (fewer regulatory changes in more isolated TSSs). These findings advance our understanding of how regulatory innovations arise in the genome throughout evolution and highlight the genomic robustness and evolvability in these processes.

Type: Article
Title: Integrated analysis sheds light on evolutionary trajectories of young transcription start sites in the human genome
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/gr.231449.117
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gr.231449.117
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 Li et al. This article, published in Genome Research, is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution 4.0 International), as described at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047455
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