3 results for Askarian-Amiri, ME

  • Long noncoding RNAs in mouse embryonic stem cell pluripotency and differentiation.

    Dinger, ME; Amaral, PP; Mercer, TR; Pang, KC; Bruce, SJ; Gardiner, BB; Askarian-Amiri, ME; Ru, K; Soldà, G; Simons, C; Sunkin, SM; Crowe, ML; Grimmond, SM; Perkins, AC; Mattick, JS (2008-06-18)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    The transcriptional networks that regulate embryonic stem (ES) cell pluripotency and lineage specification are the subject of considerable attention. To date such studies have focused almost exclusively on protein-coding transcripts. However, recent transcriptome analyses show that the mammalian genome contains thousands of long noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), many of which appear to be expressed in a developmentally regulated manner. The functions of these remain untested. To identify ncRNAs involved in ES cell biology, we used a custom-designed microarray to examine the expression profiles of mouse ES cells differentiating as embryoid bodies (EBs) over a 16-d time course. We identified 945 ncRNAs expressed during EB differentiation, of which 174 were differentially expressed, many correlating with pluripotency or specific differentiation events. Candidate ncRNAs were identified for further characterization by an integrated examination of expression profiles, genomic context, chromatin state, and promoter analysis. Many ncRNAs showed coordinated expression with genomically associated developmental genes, such as Dlx1, Dlx4, Gata6, and Ecsit. We examined two novel developmentally regulated ncRNAs, Evx1as and Hoxb5/6as, which are derived from homeotic loci and share similar expression patterns and localization in mouse embryos with their associated protein-coding genes. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we provide evidence that both ncRNAs are associated with trimethylated H3K4 histones and histone methyltransferase MLL1, suggesting a role in epigenetic regulation of homeotic loci during ES cell differentiation. Taken together, our data indicate that long ncRNAs are likely to be important in processes directing pluripotency and alternative differentiation programs, in some cases through engagement of the epigenetic machinery.

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  • SNORD-host RNA Zfas1 is a regulator of mammary development and a potential marker for breast cancer.

    Askarian-Amiri, ME; Crawford, J; French, JD; Smart, CE; Smith, MA; Clark, MB; Ru, K; Mercer, TR; Thompson, ER; Lakhani, SR; Vargas, AC; Campbell, IG; Brown, MA; Dinger, ME; Mattick, JS (2011-04-01)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are increasingly recognized to play major regulatory roles in development and disease. To identify novel regulators in breast biology, we identified differentially regulated lncRNAs during mouse mammary development. Among the highest and most differentially expressed was a transcript (Zfas1) antisense to the 5' end of the protein-coding gene Znfx1. In vivo, Zfas1 RNA is localized within the ducts and alveoli of the mammary gland. Zfas1 intronically hosts three previously undescribed C/D box snoRNAs (SNORDs): Snord12, Snord12b, and Snord12c. In contrast to the general assumption that noncoding SNORD-host transcripts function only as vehicles to generate snoRNAs, knockdown of Zfas1 in a mammary epithelial cell line resulted in increased cellular proliferation and differentiation, while not substantially altering the levels of the SNORDs. In support of an independent function, we also found that Zfas1 is extremely stable, with a half-life >16 h. Expression analysis of the SNORDs revealed these were expressed at different levels, likely a result of distinct structures conferring differential stability. While there is relatively low primary sequence conservation between Zfas1 and its syntenic human ortholog ZFAS1, their predicted secondary structures have similar features. Like Zfas1, ZFAS1 is highly expressed in the mammary gland and is down-regulated in breast tumors compared to normal tissue. We propose a functional role for Zfas1/ ZFAS1 in the regulation of alveolar development and epithelial cell differentiation in the mammary gland, which, together with its dysregulation in human breast cancer, suggests ZFAS1 as a putative tumor suppressor gene.

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  • Complex architecture and regulated expression of the Sox2ot locus during vertebrate development

    Amaral, PP; Neyt, C; Wilkins, SJ; Askarian-Amiri, ME; Sunkin, SM; Perkins, AC; Mattick, JS (2009)

    Journal article
    The University of Auckland Library

    The Sox2 gene is a key regulator of pluripotency embedded within an intron of a long noncoding RNA (ncRNA), termed Sox2 overlapping transcript (Sox2ot), which is transcribed in the same orientation. However, this ncRNA remains uncharacterized. Here we show that Sox2ot has multiple transcription start sites associated with genomic features that indicate regulated expression, including highly conserved elements (HCEs) and chromatin marks characteristic of gene promoters. To identify biological processes in which Sox2ot may be involved, we analyzed its expression in several developmental systems, compared to expression of Sox2. We show that Sox2ot is a stable transcript expressed in mouse embryonic stem cells, which, like Sox2, is down-regulated upon induction of embryoid body (EB) differentiation. However, in contrast to Sox2, Sox2ot is up-regulated during EB mesoderm-lineage differentiation. In adult mouse, Sox2ot isoforms were detected in tissues where Sox2 is expressed, as well as in different tissues, supporting independent regulation of expression of the ncRNA. Sox2dot, an isoform of Sox2ot transcribed from a distal HCE located >500 kb upstream of Sox2, was detected exclusively in the mouse brain, with enrichment in regions of adult neurogenesis. In addition, Sox2ot isoforms are transcribed from HCEs upstream of Sox2 in other vertebrates, including in several regions of the human brain. We also show that Sox2ot is dynamically regulated during chicken and zebrafish embryogenesis, consistently associated with central nervous system structures. These observations provide insight into the structure and regulation of the Sox2ot gene, and suggest conserved roles for Sox2ot orthologs during vertebrate development.

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