ENHANCER FUNCTION: High-resolution interrogation of functional elements in the noncoding genome

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The noncoding genome affects gene regulation and disease, yet we lack tools for rapid identification and manipulation of noncoding elements. We developed a CRISPR screen using ˜18,000 single guide RNAs targeting >700 kilobases surrounding the genesNF1,NF2, andCUL3, which are involved in BRAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma. We find that noncoding locations that modulate drug resistance also harbor predictive hallmarks of noncoding function. With a subset of regions at theCUL3locus, we demonstrate that engineered mutations alter transcription factor occupancy and long-range and local epigenetic environments, implicating these sites in gene regulation and chemotherapeutic resistance. Through our expansion of the potential of pooled CRISPR screens, we provide tools for genomic discovery and for elucidating biologically relevant mechanisms of gene regulation.

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