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Arriaga-Canon, Cristian; Fonseca-Guzman, Yael; Valdes-Quezada, Christian; Arzate-Mejia, Rodrigo; Guerrero, Georgina; Recillas-Targa, Felix (2014)

A LONG NON-CODING RNA PROMOTES FULL ACTIVATION OF ADULT GENE EXPRESSION IN THE CHICKEN ALPHA-GLOBIN DOMAIN

Epigenetics 9(SI):173-181
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Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) were recently shown to regulate chromatin remodelling activities. Their function in regulating gene expression switching during specific developmental stages is poorly understood. Here we describe a nuclear, non-coding transcript responsive for the stage-specific activation of the chicken adult α(D) globin gene. This non-coding transcript, named α-globin transcript long non-coding RNA (lncRNA-αGT) is transcriptionally upregulated in late stages of chicken development, when active chromatin marks the adult α(D) gene promoter. Accordingly, the lncRNA-αGT promoter drives erythroid-specific transcription. Furthermore, loss of function experiments showed that lncRNA-αGT is required for full activation of the α(D) adult gene and maintenance of transcriptionally active chromatin. These findings uncovered lncRNA-αGT as an important part of the switching from embryonic to adult α-globin gene expression, and suggest a function of lncRNA-αGT in contributing to the maintenance of adult α-globin gene expression by promoting an active chromatin structure.