A compendium of nucleosome and transcript profiles reveals determinants of chromatin architecture and transcription

PLoS Genet. 2013 May;9(5):e1003479. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003479. Epub 2013 May 2.


Nucleosomes in all eukaryotes examined to date adopt a characteristic architecture within genes and play fundamental roles in regulating transcription, yet the identity and precise roles of many of the trans-acting factors responsible for the establishment and maintenance of this organization remain to be identified. We profiled a compendium of 50 yeast strains carrying conditional alleles or complete deletions of genes involved in transcriptional regulation, histone biology, and chromatin remodeling, as well as compounds that target transcription and histone deacetylases, to assess their respective roles in nucleosome positioning and transcription. We find that nucleosome patterning in genes is affected by many factors, including the CAF-1 complex, Spt10, and Spt21, in addition to previously reported remodeler ATPases and histone chaperones. Disruption of these factors or reductions in histone levels led genic nucleosomes to assume positions more consistent with their intrinsic sequence preferences, with pronounced and specific shifts of the +1 nucleosome relative to the transcription start site. These shifts of +1 nucleosomes appear to have functional consequences, as several affected genes in Ino80 mutants exhibited altered expression responses. Our parallel expression profiling compendium revealed extensive transcription changes in intergenic and antisense regions, most of which occur in regions with altered nucleosome occupancy and positioning. We show that the nucleosome-excluding transcription factors Reb1, Abf1, Tbf1, and Rsc3 suppress cryptic transcripts at their target promoters, while a combined analysis of nucleosome and expression profiles identified 36 novel transcripts that are normally repressed by Tup1/Cyc8. Our data confirm and extend the roles of chromatin remodelers and chaperones as major determinants of genic nucleosome positioning, and these data provide a valuable resource for future studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics
  • Chromatin
  • Chromatin Assembly Factor-1 / genetics
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Histone Chaperones / genetics*
  • Nucleosomes
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • Chromatin Assembly Factor-1
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histone Chaperones
  • MSI1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Nucleosomes
  • SPT21 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • SPT10 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE44879