Production of Spliced Long Noncoding RNAs Specifies Regions with Increased Enhancer Activity

Noa Gil, Igor Ulitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Active enhancers in mammals produce enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) that are bidirectionally transcribed, unspliced, and unstable. Enhancer regions are also enriched with long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) transcripts, which are typically spliced and substantially more stable. In order to explore the relationship between these two classes of RNAs, we analyzed DNase hypersensitive sites with evidence of bidirectional transcription, which we termed eRNA-producing centers (EPCs). EPCs found very close to transcription start sites of lncRNAs exhibit attributes of both enhancers and promoters, including distinctive DNA motifs and a characteristic chromatin landscape. These EPCs are associated with higher enhancer activity, driven at least in part by the presence of conserved, directional splicing signals that promote lncRNA production, pointing at a causal role of lncRNA processing in enhancer activity. Together, our results suggest that the conserved ability of some enhancers to produce lncRNAs augments their activity in a manner likely mediated through lncRNA maturation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)Pages 537-547.e3
Number of pages14
JournalCell Systems
Issue number5
StatePublished - 28 Nov 2018


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