Comprehensive Computational Analysis of Chromatin-Enriched RNAs Reveal Both Active and Repressive Cis-Regulatory Non-coding RNAs

2019-10-16T17:00:19Z (GMT) by Xiangying Sun
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) localize in the cell nucleus and influence gene expression through a variety of molecular mechanisms. RNA sequencing of two biochemical fractions of nuclei reveals a unique class of lncRNAs, termed chromatin-enriched nuclear RNAs (cheRNAs) that are tightly bound to chromatin and putatively function to cis-activate gene expression. Until now, a rigorous analytic pipeline for nuclear RNA-seq has been lacking. In this study, we survey four computational strategies for nuclear RNA-seq data analysis and show that a new pipeline, Tuxedo, outperforms other approaches. Tuxedo not only assembles a more complete transcriptome, but also identifies cheRNA with higher accuracy. We have used Tuxedo to analyze gold-standard K562 cell datasets and further characterize the genomic features of intergenic cheRNA (icheRNA) and their similarity to those of enhancer RNA (eRNA). Moreover, we quantify the transcriptional correlation of icheRNA and adjacent genes, and suggest that icheRNA may be the cis-acting transcriptional regulator that is more positively associated with neighboring gene expression than eRNA predicted by state-of-art method or CAGE signal. We also explore two novel genomic associations, suggesting cheRNA may have diverse functions. A possible new role of H3K9me3 modification coincident with icheRNA may be associated with active enhancer derived from ancient mobile elements, while a potential cis-repressive function of antisense cheRNA (as-cheRNA) is likely to be involved in transiently modulating cell type-specific cis-regulation.