August 5, 2007 | Nature Methods

Genome-wide prediction of matrix attachment regions that increase gene expression in mammalian cells.


Gene transfer in eukaryotic cells and organisms suffers from epigenetic effects that result in low or unstable transgene expression and high clonal variability. Use of epigenetic regulators such as matrix attachment regions (MARs) is a promising approach to alleviate such unwanted effects. Dissection of a known MAR allowed the identification of sequence motifs that mediate elevated transgene expression. Bioinformatics analysis implied that these motifs adopt a curved DNA structure that positions nucleosomes and binds specific transcription factors. From these observations, we computed putative MARs from the human genome. Cloning of several predicted MARs indicated that they are much more potent than the previously known element, boosting the expression of recombinant proteins from cultured cells as well as mediating high and sustained expression in mice. Thus we computationally identified potent epigenetic regulators, opening new strategies toward high and stable transgene expression for research, therapeutic production or gene-based therapies.



Girod PA, Nguyen DQ, Calabrese D, Puttini S, Grandjean M, Martinet D, Regamey A, Saugy D, Beckmann JS, Bucher P, Mermod N. Nat Methods. 2007 Sep;4(9):747-53. Epub 2007 Aug 5.