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Title: Investigating molecular mechanisms of Dali, an intergenic chromatin-associated lincRNA regulating genes locally and neural differentiation genome-wide
Author: Chalei, Vladislava
ISNI:       0000 0004 5369 4026
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Recently, long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) emerged as important regulators of many cellular functions. Many nuclear lncRNAs regulate the expression of geomically proximal or overlapping protein coding genes. Less clear is whether intergenic lncRNAs can regulate transcription by modulating chromatin at genomically distant loci in an RNA-dependent manner. This thesis investigated molecular functions of Dali, an intergenic central nervous system expressed lncRNA conserved in therian mammals. Dali is transcribed from a locus 50 kb downstream of the Pou3f3 transcription factor gene and performs both genomically local and distal RNA-dependent roles. Its depletion disrupts the differentiation of neuroblastoma cells. Locally, Dali regulates transcription of the Pou3f3 locus. Distally, it preferentially binds near to and regulates active promoters across the genome, including by physically associating with the POU3F3 transcription factor. Dali also interacts with the DNMT1 DNA methyltransferase in mouse and human and regulates CpG island-associated promoters by modulating their DNA methylation levels in trans. This work is the first to demonstrate that a lncRNA can regulate the DNA methylation of CpG island-associated promoters in trans and one of the first large scale studies to identify direct transcriptional targets of a lncRNA genome-wide. It also provides a more detailed molecular dissection of the extended Pou3f3 locus and a framework for the prioritisation and comprehensive functional characterisation of nuclear lncRNAs.
Supervisor: Ponting, Chris P. ; Vance, Keith W. Sponsor: European Research Council ; Medical Research Council ; Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biology ; Biochemistry ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Mammalian chromosome ; transcription ; non-coding RNA ; lncRNA ; chromatin ; DNA methylation ; epigenetics