Use of a Drosophila genome-wide conserved sequence database to identify functionally related cis-regulatory enhancers

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Algorithms; Animals; Base Sequence; Computational Biology; *Databases, Genetic; Drosophila melanogaster; *Enhancer Elements, Genetic; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; *Genome, Insect; Molecular Sequence Data; Phylogeny; Transgenes


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


BACKGROUND: Phylogenetic footprinting has revealed that cis-regulatory enhancers consist of conserved DNA sequence clusters (CSCs). Currently, there is no systematic approach for enhancer discovery and analysis that takes full-advantage of the sequence information within enhancer CSCs.

RESULTS: We have generated a Drosophila genome-wide database of conserved DNA consisting of >100,000 CSCs derived from EvoPrints spanning over 90% of the genome. cis-Decoder database search and alignment algorithms enable the discovery of functionally related enhancers. The program first identifies conserved repeat elements within an input enhancer and then searches the database for CSCs that score highly against the input CSC. Scoring is based on shared repeats as well as uniquely shared matches, and includes measures of the balance of shared elements, a diagnostic that has proven to be useful in predicting cis-regulatory function. To demonstrate the utility of these tools, a temporally-restricted CNS neuroblast enhancer was used to identify other functionally related enhancers and analyze their structural organization.

CONCLUSIONS: cis-Decoder reveals that co-regulating enhancers consist of combinations of overlapping shared sequence elements, providing insights into the mode of integration of multiple regulating transcription factors. The database and accompanying algorithms should prove useful in the discovery and analysis of enhancers involved in any developmental process.

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Citation: Dev Dyn. 2012 Jan;241(1):169-89. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22728. Epub 2011 Aug 30. Link to article on publisher's site

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Link to Article in PubMed