Association analysis of repetitive elements and R-loop formation across species

Chao Zeng, Masahiro Onoguchi, Michiaki Hamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Genomes are known to have a large number of repetitive elements. Emerging evidence suggests that these non-coding elements may play an important regulatory role. However, few studies have investigated the effect of repetitive elements on R-loop formation. In this study, we found different repetitive elements related to R-loop formation in various species. By controlling length and genomic distributions, we observed that satellites, long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs), and DNAs were each specifically enriched for R-loops in humans, fruit flies, and Arabidopsis thaliana, respectively. R-loops also tended to arise in regions of low-complexity or simple repeats across species. We also found that the repetitive elements associated with R-loop formation differ according to developmental stage. For instance, LINEs and long terminal repeats (LTRs) are more likely to contain R-loops in embryos (fruit fly) and then turn out to be low-complexity and simple repeats in post-developmental S2 cells. Our results indicate that repetitive elements may have species-specific or development-specific regulatory effects on R-loop formation. This work advances our understanding of repetitive elements and R-loop biology.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUnknown Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Nov 10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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