Transcription factor trapping by RNA in gene regulatory elements

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Science  29 Oct 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad3346

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Transcription factors (TFs) bind specific sequences in promoter-proximal and distal DNA elements in order to regulate gene transcription. RNA is transcribed from both of these DNA elements, and some DNA-binding TFs bind RNA. Hence, RNA transcribed from regulatory elements may contribute to stable TF occupancy at these sites. We show that the ubiquitously expressed TF YY1 binds to both gene regulatory elements and also to their associated RNA species genome-wide. Reduced transcription of regulatory elements diminishes YY1 occupancy whereas artificial tethering of RNA enhances YY1 occupancy at these elements. We propose that RNA makes a modest but important contribution to the maintenance of certain TFs at gene regulatory elements and suggest that transcription of regulatory elements produces a positive feedback loop that contributes to the stability of gene expression programs.

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