ENCODE Encyclopedia, Version 4: Genomic annotations


The ENCODE Consortium not only produces high-quality data, but also analyzes the data in an integrative fashion. The ENCODE Encyclopedia organizes the most salient analysis products into annotations, and provides tools to search and visualize them. The Encyclopedia has two levels of annotations:

  • Ground-level annotations are derived directly from the experimental data, typically produced by uniform processing pipelines.
  • Integrative-level annotations integrate multiple types of experimental data and ground level annotations.

Ground Level Annotations

Gene expression (RNA-seq)

The expression levels of genes and transcripts annotated by GENCODE.
[ SCREENYue Lab Browser | Download | Method ]

BRCA1 Gene Expression

Transcription factor binding (TF ChIP-seq)

Peaks (enriched genomic regions) of TFs computed from ChIP-seq experiments.
[ Peaks ]
Visualize sequence motifs and other information [ Factorbook ]

CTCF Motif from Factorbook


Histone mark enrichment (ChIP-seq)

Peaks of a variety of histone marks computed from ChIP-seq experiments.
Peaks ]

H3K27ac from e11.5 Neural Tube

Open chromatin (DNase-seq)

DNase I hypersensitive sites (DHSs) computed from DNase-seq experiments.
[ Peaks ]

CTCF DHS Profile

Topologically associating domains (TADs) (Hi-C)

 TADs and A and B compartments computed from Hi-C experiments.
[ Visualize | TADs  ]

K562 Interaction Matrix

Three dimensional chromatin interactions (ChIA-PET)

3D interactions between genomic loci such as promoters and distal enhancers computed from ChIA-PET experiments.
[ Visualize | Interactions ]

ChIA-PET interactions

RNA binding protein occupancy (eCLIP-seq)

Peaks computed from eCLIP-seq data in human cell lines K562 and HepG2 for RNA Binding Proteins (RBPs).
[ Peaks ]

RBFOX2 read density

Integrative Level Annotations

The Registry of Candidate Regulatory Elements

The core of the integrative level of the ENCODE Encyclopedia is the Registry of candidate Regulatory Elements (cREs), which integrates all high-quality DNase-seq and H3K4me3, H3K27ac, and CTCF ChIP-seq data produced by the ENCODE and Roadmap Epigenomics Consortia. The cREs in the Registry are the subset of representative DNase hypersensitivity sites (rDHSs) that are supported by these two histone modifications and CTCF-binding data. Currently the Registry (version 1) contains 1,310,152 human cREs and 527,001 mouse cREs.

Using H3K4me3, H3K27ac, and CTCF signals across all cell types, we classified cREs into promoter-like, enhancer-like, CTCF-bound insulator-like groups in a cell-type agnostic manner. For each specific cell type, we also classified cREs into these groups using DNase, H3K4me3, H3K27ac, and CTCF data specific for that cell type. Currently 21 human (11 mouse) cell types have complete cell-type-specific cRE classifications and 598 human (117 mouse) cell types have partial cRE classifications.


SCREEN is a web-based search and visualization engine specifically designed for the Registry of cREs. SCREEN allows users to explore cREs and investigate how they connect with other annotations in the Encyclopedia in a cell-type-specific manner, as well as the underlying raw ENCODE data whenever informative. SCREEN also presents the results of using cREs to interpret the variants uncovered by Genome-wide Association Studies (GWAS).
[ Visualize | Method ]

Chromatin states

Semi-automated genomic annotation methods such as ChromHMM and Segway take as input a panel of epigenomic data (including histone mark ChIP-seq and DNase-seq) in a particular cell type and use machine learning methods to simultaneously partition the genome into segments and assign chromatin states to these segments; the states are assigned such that two segments with the same state exhibit similar epigenomic patterns. The procedure is "semi-automated" because states are then manually compared with known biological information in order to designate each state as an enhancer-like, promoter-like, gene body, etc.
[ Search ]




Variant Annotation

Over the past decade, Genome Wide Association Studies (GWAS) have provided insights into how genetic variations contribute to human diseases. However, over 80% of the variants reported by GWAS are in noncoding regions of the genome and the mechanism of how they contribute to disease onset is unknown. By integrating data from the ENCODE project and other public sources, RegulomeDB and HaploReg are two resources developed by ENCODE labs to aid the research community in annotating GWAS variants. FunSeq is another ENCODE resource for annotating both germline and somatic variants, particularly in the noncoding regions of cancer genomes.
[ RegulomeDB | HaploReg | FunSeq ]

Encyclopedia Versions

Ground level annotations include all released experiments to-date.

Middle level annotations are V3, as indicated in their metadata.

V3 (based on ENCODE3, ENCODE2 and ROADMAP human data)

V2 (based on ENCODE2 and ROADMAP human data)

V1 (prototype)


Data from the Common fund supported Roadmap Epigenomics Mapping Consortium (REMC) were included for building the ENCODE Encyclopedia. Please see the 2015 paper on their analysis of reference human genomes for more information.