3 years ago

Functional Mechanisms of Microsatellite DNA in Eukaryotic Genomes.

Microsatellite repeat DNA is best known for its length mutability, which is implicated in several neurological diseases and cancers, and often exploited as a genetic marker. Less well-known is the body of work exploring the widespread and surprisingly diverse functional roles of microsatellites. Recently, emerging evidence includes the finding that normal microsatellite polymorphism contributes substantially to the heritability of human gene expression on a genome-wide scale, calling attention to the task of elucidating the mechanisms involved. At present, these are underexplored, but several themes have emerged. I review evidence demonstrating roles for microsatellites in modulation of transcription factor binding, spacing between promoter elements, enhancers, cytosine methylation, alternative splicing, mRNA stability, selection of transcription start and termination sites, unusual structural conformations, nucleosome positioning and modification, higher order chromatin structure, noncoding RNA, and meiotic recombination hot spots.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1093/gbe/evx164

DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evx164

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