Enhancers compete with a long non-coding RNA for regulation of theKcnq1domain

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Abstract

The imprinted Kcnq1 domain contains a differentially methylated region (KvDMR) in intron 11 of Kcnq1. The Kcnq1ot1 non-coding RNA emerges from the unmethylated paternal KvDMR in antisense direction, resulting in cis-repression of neighboring genes. The KvDMR encompasses the Kcnq1ot1 promoter, CTCF sites and other DNA elements, whose individual contribution to regulation of the endogenous domain is unknown. We find that paternal inheritance of a deletion of the minimal Kcnq1ot1 promoter derepresses the upstream Cdkn1c gene. Surprisingly, Kcnq1ot1 transcripts continue to emerge from alternative sites, evidence that silencing depends, not on the ncRNA, but on the promoter sequence. Detailed analyses of Kcnq1ot during cardiogenesis show substantial chromatin reorganization coinciding with discontinuous RNA production in both wild-type and mutant mice, with loss of imprinting. We show that CTCF binds to both methylated and unmethylated alleles of the KvDMR. Furthermore, we report a multitude of enhancers within the Kcnq1ot1 region, and present conformational dynamics of a novel heart enhancer engaged in Kcnq1 expression. Our results have important implications on tissue-specific imprinting patterns and how transcriptional mechanisms compete to maximize the expression of vital genes, in addition to shifting our perception on the role of the long ncRNA in regulating this imprinted domain.

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