Genome-wide analysis of the rat colon reveals proximal-distal differences in histone modifications and proto-oncogene expression. Academic Article uri icon


  • Since disease susceptibility of the intestine exhibits an anatomical bias, we propose that the chromatin landscape, especially the site-specific epigenetic differences in histone modification patterns throughout the colonic longitudinal axis, contributes to the differential incidence of site-specific pathology. To test this hypothesis, we assessed the chromatin structure associated with gene expression profiles in the rat proximal and distal colon by globally correlating chromatin immunoprecipitation next-generation sequencing analysis (ChIP-Seq) with mRNA transcription (RNA-Seq) data. Crypts were isolated from the proximal and distal colonic regions from rats maintained on a semipurified diet, and mRNA gene expression profiles were generated by RNA-Seq. The remaining isolated crypts were formaldehyde-cross-linked and chromatin immunoprecipitated with antibodies against H3K4me3, H3K9me3, and RNA polymerase II. Globally, RNA-Seq results indicate that 9,866 genes were actively expressed, of which 540 genes were differentially expressed between the proximal and distal colon. Gene ontology analysis indicates that crypt location significantly affected both chromatin and transcriptional regulation of genes involved in enterocyte movement, lipid metabolism, lymphatic development, and immune cell trafficking. Gene function analysis indicates that the PI3-kinase signaling pathway was regulated in a site-specific manner, e.g., proto-oncogenes, JUN, FOS, and ATF, were upregulated in the distal colon. Middle and long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) were also detected in the colon, including select lncRNAs formerly only detected in the rat nervous system. In summary, distinct combinatorial patterns of histone modifications exist in the proximal versus distal colon. These site-specific differences may explain the differential effects of chemoprotective agents on cell transformation in the ascending (proximal) and descending (distal) colon.

published proceedings

  • Physiol Genomics

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Triff, K., Konganti, K., Gaddis, S., Zhou, B., Ivanov, I., & Chapkin, R. S.

citation count

  • 19

complete list of authors

  • Triff, Karen||Konganti, Kranti||Gaddis, Sally||Zhou, Beiyan||Ivanov, Ivan||Chapkin, Robert S

publication date

  • December 2013