Comprehensive analysis of chromatin signature and transcriptome uncovers functional lncRNAs expressed in nephron progenitor cells

Biochim Biophys Acta Gene Regul Mech. 2019 Jan;1862(1):58-70. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2018.09.006. Epub 2018 Sep 14.


Emerging evidence from recent studies has unraveled the roles of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in the function of various tissues. However, little is known about the roles of lncRNAs in kidney development. In our present study, we aimed to identify functional lncRNAs in one of the three lineages of kidney progenitor cells, i.e., metanephric mesenchymal (MM) cells. We conducted comprehensive analyses of the chromatin signature and transcriptome by RNA-seq and ChIP-seq. We found seventeen lncRNAs that were expressed specifically in MM cells with an active chromatin signature, while remaining silenced in a bivalent chromatin state in non-MM cells. Out of these MM specific lncRNAs, we identified a lncRNA, Gm29418, in a distal enhancer region of Six2, a key regulatory gene of MM cells. We further identified three transcript variants of Gm29418 by Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends (RACE), and confirmed that the transcription-start-sites (TSSs) of these variants were consistent with the result of Cap Analysis Gene Expression (CAGE). In support of the enhancer-like function of Gm29418 on Six2 expression, we found that knock-down of Gm29418 by two independent anti-sense locked nucleic acid (LNA) phosphorothioate gapmers suppressed Six2 mRNA expression levels in MM cells. We also found that over-expression of Gm29418 led to an increase in Six2 mRNA expression levels in a mouse MM cell line. In conclusion, we identified a lncRNA, Gm29418, in nephron progenitor cells that has an enhancer-like function on a key regulatory gene, Six2.

Keywords: ChIP-seq; Development; Kidney; RNA-seq; Six2; lncRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Kidney / growth & development*
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mice
  • Nephrons / cytology*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome


  • Chromatin
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • SIX2 protein, human