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AbstractCentral nervous system-expressed long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often located in the genome close to protein coding genes involved in transcriptional control. Such lncRNA-protein coding gene pairs are frequently temporally and spatially co-expressed in the nervous system and are predicted to act together to regulate neuronal development and function. Although some of these lncRNAs also bind and modulate the activity of the encoded transcription factors, the regulatory mechanisms controlling co-expression of neighbouring lncRNA-protein coding genes remain unclear. Here, we used high resolution NG Capture-C to map the cis-regulatory interaction landscape of the key neuro-developmental Paupar-Pax6 lncRNA-mRNA locus. The results defined chromatin architecture changes associated with high Paupar-Pax6 expression in neurons and identified both promoter selective as well as shared cis-regulatory interactions with the Paupar and Pax6 promoters involved in regulating Paupar-Pax6 co-expression in neuronal cells. The TCF7L2 transcription factor, a major regulator of chromatin architecture and effector of the Wnt signalling pathway, binds to a subset of these candidate cis-regulatory elements to coordinate Paupar and Pax6 co-expression. We identify a functional TCF7L2 bound cis-regulatory element within the Paupar gene, suggesting that the Paupar DNA locus itself regulates Pax6 expression in addition to its previously described transcriptdependent modes of action. Our work provides important insights into the chromatin interactions, signalling pathways and transcription factors controlling co-expression of adjacent lncRNAs and protein coding genes in the brain.

Original publication




Journal article


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Publication Date