Background: In vivo positioning and covalent modifications of nucleosomes play an important role in epigenetic regulation, but genome-wide studies of positioned nucleosomes and their modifications in human still remain limited.
Results: This paper describes a novel computational framework to efficiently identify positioned nucleosomes and their histone modification profiles from nucleosome-resolution histone modification ChIP-Seq data. We applied the algorithm to histone methylation ChIP-Seq data in human CD4+ T cells and identified over 438,000 positioned nucleosomes, which appear predominantly at functionally important regions such as genes, promoters, DNase I hypersensitive regions, and transcription factor binding sites. Our analysis shows the identified nucleosomes play a key role in epigenetic gene regulation within those functionally important regions via their positioning and histone modifications.
Conclusion: Our method provides an effective framework for studying nucleosome positioning and epigenetic marks in mammalian genomes. The algorithm is open source and available at http://liulab.dfci.harvard.edu/NPS/.