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Reference: Babbitt GA (2010) Relaxed selection against accidental binding of transcription factors with conserved chromatin contexts. Gene 466(1-2):43-8

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Abstract


The spurious (or nonfunctional) binding of transcription factors (TF) to the wrong locations on DNA presents a formidable challenge to genomes given the relatively low ceiling for sequence complexity within the short lengths of most binding motifs. The high potential for the occurrence of random motifs and subsequent nonfunctional binding of many transcription factors should theoretically lead to natural selection against the occurrence of spurious motif throughout the genome. However, because of the active role that chromatin can influence over eukaryotic gene regulation, it may also be expected that many supposed spurious binding sites could escape purifying selection if A) they simply occur in regions of high nucleosome occupancy or B) their surrounding chromatin was dynamically involved in their identity and function. We compared nucleosome occupancy and the presence/absence of functionally conserved chromatin context to the strength of selection against spurious binding of various TF binding motifs in Saccharomyces yeast. While we find no direct relationship with nucleosome occupancy, we find strong evidence that transcription factors spatially associated with evolutionarily conserved chromatin states are under relaxed selection against accidental binding. Transcription factors (with/without) a conserved chromatin context were found to occur on average, (87.7% / 49.3%) of their expected frequencies. Functional binding motifs with conserved chromatin contexts were also significantly shorter in length and more often clustered. These results indicate a role of chromatin context dependency in relaxing selection against spurious binding in nearly half of all TF binding motifs throughout the yeast genome.CI - Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Journal Article
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Babbitt GA
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