Nature Research (part of Springer Nature), Nature Communications, (6), p. 7743
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) regulate gene expression by association with chromatin, but how they target chromatin remains poorly understood. We have used chromatin RNA immunoprecipitation-coupled high-throughput sequencing to identify 276 lncRNAs enriched in repressive chromatin from breast cancer cells. Using one of the chromatin-interacting lncRNAs, MEG3, we explore the mechanisms by which lncRNAs target chromatin. Here we show that MEG3 and EZH2 share common target genes, including the TGF-β pathway genes. Genome-wide mapping of MEG3 binding sites reveals that MEG3 modulates the activity of TGF-β genes by binding to distal regulatory elements. MEG3 binding sites have GA-rich sequences, which guide MEG3 to the chromatin through RNA-DNA triplex formation. We have found that RNA-DNA triplex structures are widespread and are present over the MEG3 binding sites associated with the TGF-β pathway genes. Our findings suggest that RNA-DNA triplex formation could be a general characteristic of target gene recognition by the chromatin-interacting lncRNAs.