Schwalb B, Michel M, Zacher B, Frühauf K, Demel C, Tresch A, Gagneur J, Cramer P
Science 352 (6290) 1225-1228 [2016-06-03; online 2016-06-04]
Pervasive transcription of the genome produces both stable and transient RNAs. We developed transient transcriptome sequencing (TT-seq), a protocol that uniformly maps the entire range of RNA-producing units and estimates rates of RNA synthesis and degradation. Application of TT-seq to human K562 cells recovers stable messenger RNAs and long intergenic noncoding RNAs and additionally maps transient enhancer, antisense, and promoter-associated RNAs. TT-seq analysis shows that enhancer RNAs are short-lived and lack U1 motifs and secondary structure. TT-seq also maps transient RNA downstream of polyadenylation sites and uncovers sites of transcription termination; we found, on average, four transcription termination sites, distributed in a window with a median width of ~3300 base pairs. Termination sites coincide with a DNA motif associated with pausing of RNA polymerase before its release from the genome.