2022 journal article
Coupling high-throughput mapping with proteomics analysis delineates cis-regulatory elements at high resolution
NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, 50(1).
Growing evidence suggests that functional cis-regulatory elements (cis-REs) not only exist in epigenetically marked but also in unmarked sites of the human genome. While it is already difficult to identify cis-REs in the epigenetically marked sites, interrogating cis-REs residing within the unmarked sites is even more challenging. Here, we report adapting Reel-seq, an in vitro high-throughput (HTP) technique, to fine-map cis-REs at high resolution over a large region of the human genome in a systematic and continuous manner. Using Reel-seq, as a proof-of-principle, we identified 408 candidate cis-REs by mapping a 58 kb core region on the aging-related CDKN2A/B locus that harbors p16INK4a. By coupling Reel-seq with FREP-MS, a proteomics analysis technique, we characterized two cis-REs, one in an epigenetically marked site and the other in an epigenetically unmarked site. These elements are shown to regulate the p16INK4a expression over an ∼100 kb distance by recruiting the poly(A) binding protein PABPC1 and the transcription factor FOXC2. Downregulation of either PABPC1 or FOXC2 in human endothelial cells (ECs) can induce the p16INK4a-dependent cellular senescence. Thus, we confirmed the utility of Reel-seq and FREP-MS analyses for the systematic identification of cis-REs at high resolution over a large region of the human genome.