The Evf-2 noncoding RNA is transcribed from the Dlx-5/6 ultraconserved region and functions as a Dlx-2 transcriptional coactivator

Jianchi Feng, Chunming Bi, Brian S. Clark, Rina Mady, Palak Shah, Jhumku D. Kohtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

511 Scopus citations

Abstract

The identification of ultraconserved noncoding sequences in vertebrates has been associated with developmental regulators and DNA-binding proteins. One of the first of these was identified in the intergenic region between the Dlx-5 and Dlx-6 genes, members of the Dlx/dll homeodomain-containing protein family. In previous experiments, we showed that Sonic hedgehog treatment of forebrain neural explants results in the activation of Dlx-2 and the novel noncoding RNA (ncRNA), Evf-1. In this report, we show that the Dlx-5/6 ultraconserved region is transcribed to generate an alternatively spliced form of Evf-1, the ncRNA Evf-2. Evf-2 specifically cooperates with Dlx-2 to increase the transcriptional activity of the Dlx-5/6 enhancer in a target and homeodomain-specific manner. A stable complex containing the Evf-2 ncRNA and the Dlx-2 protein forms in vivo, suggesting that the Evf-2 ncRNA activates transcriptional activity by directly influencing Dlx-2 activity. These experiments identify a novel mechanism whereby transcription is controlled by the cooperative actions of an ncRNA and a homeodomain protein. The possibility that a subset of vertebrate ultraconserved regions may function at both the DNA and RNA level to control key developmental regulators may explain why ultraconserved sequences exhibit 90% or more conservation even after 450 million years of vertebrate evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1470-1484
Number of pages15
JournalGenes and Development
Volume20
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Dlx gene regulation
  • Forebrain development
  • Homeodomain transcription factors
  • Noncoding RNA
  • Ultraconserved region

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