Epromoters are new players in the regulatory landscape with potential pleiotropic roles
- Gene regulation
Precise spatiotemporal control of gene expression during normal development and cell differentiation is achieved by the combined action of proximal (promoters) and distal (enhancers) cis-regulatory elements. Recent studies have reported that a subset of promoters, termed Epromoters, works also as enhancers to regulate distal genes. This new paradigm opened novel questions regarding the complexity of our genome and raises the possibility that genetic variation within Epromoters has pleiotropic effects on various physiological and pathological traits by differentially impacting multiple proximal and distal genes. Here, we discuss the different observations pointing to an important role of Epromoters in the regulatory landscape and summarize the evidence supporting a pleiotropic impact of these elements in disease. We further hypothesize that Epromoter might represent a major contributor to phenotypic variation and disease.