Analysis of Sequence Variation Underlying Tissue-specific Transcription Factor Binding and Gene Expression

Karen M Lower, Marco De Gobbi, Jim R Hughes, Christopher J Derry, Helena Ayyub, Jacqueline A Sloane-Stanley, Douglas Vernimmen, David Garrick, Richard J Gibbons, Douglas R Higgs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Whereas mutations causing monogenic disorders most frequently lie within the affected gene, sequence variation in complex disorders is more commonly found in non-coding regions. Furthermore, recent genome-wide studies have shown that common DNA sequence variants in non-coding regions are associated with "normal" variation in gene expression resulting in cell-specific and/or allele-specific differences. The mechanism by which such sequence variation causes changes in gene expression is largely unknown. We have addressed this by studying natural variation in the binding of key transcription factors (TFs) in the well-defined, purified cell system of erythropoiesis. We have shown that common polymorphisms frequently directly perturb the binding sites of key TFs, and detailed analysis shows how this causes considerable (∼10 fold) changes in expression from a single allele in a tissue-specific manner. We also show how a single nucleotide polymorphism, located at some distance from the recognised TF binding site, may affect the recruitment of a large multiprotein complex and alter the associated chromatin modification of the variant regulatory element. This study illustrates the principles by which common sequence variation may cause changes in tissue-specific gene expression, and suggests that such variation may underlie an individual's propensity to develop complex human genetic diseases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Mutation: Variation, Informatics and Disease
VolumeE-pub 24 April
Early online date24 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2013


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