Chromatin signature of widespread monoallelic expression

Anwesha Nag, Virginia Savova, Ho Lim Fung, Alexander Miron, Guo Cheng Yuan, Kun Zhang, Alexander A. Gimelbrant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


In mammals, numerous autosomal genes are subject to mitotically stable monoallelic expression (MAE), including genes that play critical roles in a variety of human diseases. Due to challenges posed by the clonal nature of MAE, very little is known about its regulation; in particular, no molecular features have been specifically linked to MAE. In this study, we report an approach that distinguishes MAE genes in human cells with great accuracy: a chromatin signature consisting of chromatin marks associated with active transcription (H3K36me3) and silencing (H3K27me3) simultaneously occurring in the gene body. The MAE signature is present in ~20% of ubiquitously expressed genes and over 30% of tissue-specific genes across cell types. Notably, it is enriched among key developmental genes that have bivalent chromatin structure in pluripotent cells. Our results open a new approach to the study of MAE that is independent of polymorphisms, and suggest that MAE is linked to cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01256
Issue number2
StatePublished - 31 Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes


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