Widespread occurrence of antisense transcription in the human genome

Rodrigo Yelin, Dvir Dahary, Rotem Sorek, Erez Y. Levanon, Orly Goldstein, Avi Shoshan, Alex Diber, Sharon Biton, Yael Tamir, Rami Khosravi, Sergey Nemzer, Elhanan Pinner, Shira Walach, Jeanne Bernstein, Kinneret Savitsky, Galit Rotman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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An increasing number of eukaryotic genes are being found to have naturally occurring antisense transcripts. Here we study the extent of antisense transcription in the human genome by analyzing the public databases of expressed sequences using a set of computational tools designed to identify sense-antisense transcriptional units on opposite DNA strands of the same genomic locus. The resulting data set of 2,667 sense-antisense pairs was evaluated by microarrays containing strand-specific oligonucleotide probes derived from the region of overlap. Verification of specific cases by northern blot analysis with strand-specific riboprobes proved transcription from both DNA strands. We conclude that ≥60% of this data set, or ∼1,600 predicted sense-antisense transcriptional units, are transcribed from both DNA strands. This indicates that the occurrence of antisense transcription, usually regarded as infrequent, is a very common phenomenon in the human genome. Therefore, antisense modulation of gene expression in human cells may be a common regulatory mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-386
Number of pages8
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


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