CRM Discovery Beyond Model Insects
Although the number of sequenced insect genomes numbers in the hundreds, little is known about gene regulatory sequences in any species other than the well-studied Drosophila melanogaster. We provide here a detailed protocol for using SCRMshaw, a computational method for predicting cis-regulatory modules (CRMs, also “enhancers”) in sequenced insect genomes. SCRMshaw is effective for CRM discovery throughout the range of holometabolous insects and potentially in even more diverged species, with true-positive prediction rates of 75% or better. Minimal requirements for using SCRMshaw are a genome sequence and training data in the form of known Drosophila CRMs; a comprehensive set of the latter can be obtained from the SCRMshaw download site. For basic applications, a user with only modest computational know-how can run SCRMshaw on a desktop computer. SCRMshaw can be run with a single, narrow set of training data to predict CRMs regulating a specific pattern of gene expression, or with multiple sets of training data covering a broad range of CRM activities to provide an initial rough regulatory annotation of a complete, newly-sequenced genome.
Key wordsNon-model insects Regulatory genomics Transcriptional gene regulation Genome annotation Enhancer prediction
We thank Kushal Suryamohan for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by USDA grant 2012-67013-19361 (MSH) and NIH grant 5K22HL125593-02 (MK).
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