Core promoter T-blocks correlate with gene expression levels in C. elegans.

Abstract:

:Core promoters mediate transcription initiation by the integration of diverse regulatory signals encoded in the proximal promoter and enhancers. It has been suggested that genes under simple regulation may have low-complexity permissive promoters. For these genes, the core promoter may serve as the principal regulatory element; however, the mechanism by which this occurs is unclear. We report here a periodic poly-thymine motif, which we term T-blocks, enriched in occurrences within core promoter forward strands in Caenorhabditis elegans. An increasing number of T-blocks on either strand is associated with increasing nucleosome eviction. Strikingly, only forward strand T-blocks are correlated with expression levels, whereby genes with ≥6 T-blocks have fivefold higher expression levels than genes with ≤3 T-blocks. We further demonstrate that differences in T-block numbers between strains predictably affect expression levels of orthologs. Highly expressed genes and genes in operons tend to have a large number of T-blocks, as well as the previously characterized SL1 motif involved in trans-splicing. The presence of T-blocks thus correlates with low nucleosome occupancy and the precision of a trans-splicing motif, suggesting its role at both the DNA and RNA levels. Collectively, our results suggest that core promoters may tune gene expression levels through the occurrences of T-blocks, independently of the spatio-temporal regulation mediated by the proximal promoter.

journal_name

Genome Res

journal_title

Genome research

authors

Grishkevich V,Hashimshony T,Yanai I

doi

10.1101/gr.113381.110

subject

Has Abstract

pub_date

2011-05-01 00:00:00

pages

707-17

issue

5

eissn

1088-9051

issn

1549-5469

pii

gr.113381.110

journal_volume

21

pub_type

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