Ancestrally duplicated conserved noncoding element suggests dual regulatory roles of HOTAIR in cis and trans

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  • Chirag Nepal
  • Andrzej Taranta
  • Sachin Pundhir
  • Piotr Mydel
  • Boris Lenhard
  • Jesper B. Andersen


HOTAIR was proposed to regulate either HoxD cluster genes in trans or HoxC cluster genes in cis, a mechanism that remains unclear. We have identified a 32-nucleotide conserved noncoding element (CNE) as HOTAIR ancient sequence that likely originated at the root of vertebrate. The second round of whole-genome duplication resulted in one copy of the CNE within HOTAIR and another copy embedded in noncoding transcript of HOXD11. Paralogous CNEs underwent compensatory mutations, exhibit sequence complementarity with respect to transcripts directionality, and have high affinity in vitro. The HOTAIR CNE resembled a poised enhancer in stem cells and an active enhancer in HOTAIR-expressing cells. HOTAIR expression is positively correlated with HOXC11 in cis and negatively correlated with HOXD11 in trans. We propose a dual modality of HOTAIR regulation where transcription of HOTAIR and its embedded enhancer regulates HOXC11 in cis and sequence complementarity between paralogous CNEs suggests HOXD11 regulation in trans.


Original languageEnglish
Article number101008
Number of pages27
Issue number4
Early online date25 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2020