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Chromatin accessibility is dynamically regulated across C. elegans development and ageing

By Jürgen Jänes, Yan Dong, Michael Schoof, Jacques Serizay, Alex Appert, Chiara Cerrato, Carson Woodbury, Ron Chen, Carolina Gemma, Ni Huang, Djem Kissiov, Przemysław Stempor, Annette Steward, Eva Zeiser, Sasha Sauer, Julie Ahringer

Posted 10 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/279158 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.37344)

An essential step for understanding the transcriptional circuits that control development and physiology is the global identification and characterization of regulatory elements. Here we present the first map of regulatory elements across the development and ageing of an animal, identifying 42,245 elements accessible in at least one C. elegans stage. Based on nuclear transcription profiles, we define 15,714 protein-coding promoters and 19,231 putative enhancers, and find that both types of element can drive orientation-independent transcription. Additionally, hundreds of promoters produce transcripts antisense to protein coding genes, suggesting involvement in a widespread regulatory mechanism. We find that the accessibility of most elements is regulated during development and/or ageing and that patterns of accessibility change are linked to specific developmental or physiological processes. The map and characterization of regulatory elements across C. elegans life provides a platform for understanding how transcription controls development and ageing.

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