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Early-life undernutrition induces enhancer RNA remodeling in mice liver
Epigenetics & Chromatin  (IF4.954),  Pub Date : 2021-03-31, DOI: 10.1186/s13072-021-00392-w
Yinyu Wang, Yiting Mao, Yiran Zhao, Xianfu Yi, Guolian Ding, Chuanjin Yu, Jianzhong Sheng, Xinmei Liu, Yicong Meng, Hefeng Huang

Maternal protein restriction diet (PRD) increases the risk of metabolic dysfunction in adulthood, the mechanisms during the early life of offspring are still poorly understood. Apart from genetic factors, epigenetic mechanisms are crucial to offer phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental situations and transmission. Enhancer-associated noncoding RNAs (eRNAs) transcription serves as a robust indicator of enhancer activation, and have potential roles in mediating enhancer functions and gene transcription. Using global run-on sequencing (GRO-seq) of nascent RNA including eRNA and total RNA sequencing data, we show that early-life undernutrition causes remodeling of enhancer activity in mouse liver. Differentially expressed nascent active genes were enriched in metabolic pathways. Besides, our work detected a large number of high confidence enhancers based on eRNA transcription at the ages of 4 weeks and 7 weeks, respectively. Importantly, except for ~ 1000 remodeling enhancers, the early-life undernutrition induced instability of enhancer activity which decreased in 4 weeks and increased in adulthood. eRNA transcription mainly contributes to the regulation of some important metabolic enzymes, suggesting a link between metabolic dysfunction and enhancer transcriptional control. We discovered a novel eRNA that is positively correlated to the expression of circadian gene Cry1 with increased binding of epigenetic cofactor p300. Our study reveals novel insights into mechanisms of metabolic dysfunction. Enhancer activity in early life acts on metabolism-associated genes, leading to the increased susceptibility of metabolic disorders.