Transcription of the proto-oncogene SPHK1 is regulated by KHPS1, an antisense RNA that activates SPHK1 expression by forming a triple-helical RNA-DNA-DNA structure at the SPHK1 enhancer. Triplex-mediated tethering of KHPS1 to its target gene is required for recruitment of E2F1 and p300 and transcription of the RNA derived from the SPHK1 enhancer (eRNA-Sphk1). eRNA-Sphk1 evicts CTCF, which insulates the enhancer from the SPHK1 promoter, thus facilitating SPHK1 expression. Genomic deletion of the triplex-forming sequence attenuates SPHK1 expression, leading to decreased cell migration and invasion. Replacement of the triplex-forming region (TFR) of KHPS1 by the TFR of the lncRNA MEG3 tethers KHPS1 to the MEG3 target gene TGFBR1, underscoring the interchangeability and anchoring function of sequences involved in triplex formation. Altogether, the results reveal a triplex-driven feedforward mechanism involving lncRNA-dependent induction of eRNA, which enhances expression of specific target genes.
Keywords: CTCF; E2F1; RNA-DNA triplexes; SPHK1; eRNA; lncRNA; p300; poised enhancer.
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