Accurate prediction of inducible transcription factor binding intensities in Vivo

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Abstract

DNA sequence and local chromatin landscape act jointly to determine transcription factor (TF) binding intensity profiles. To disentangle these influences, we developed an experimental approach, called protein/DNA binding followed by high-throughput sequencing (PB-seq), that allows the binding energy landscape to be characterized genome-wide in the absence of chromatin. We applied our methods to the Drosophila Heat Shock Factor (HSF), which inducibly binds a target DNA sequence element (HSE) following heat shock stress. PB-seq involves incubating sheared naked genomic DNA with recombinant HSF, partitioning the HSF-bound and HSF-free DNA, and then detecting HSF-bound DNA by high-throughput sequencing. We compared PB-seq binding profiles with ones observed in vivo by ChIP-seq and developed statistical models to predict the observed departures from idealized binding patterns based on covariates describing the local chromatin environment. We found that DNase I hypersensitivity and tetra-acetylation of H4 were the most influential covariates in predicting changes in HSF binding affinity. We also investigated the extent to which DNA accessibility, as measured by digital DNase I footprinting data, could be predicted from MNase-seq data and the ChIP-chip profiles for many histone modifications and TFs, and found GAGA element associated factor (GAF), tetra-acetylation of H4, and H4K16 acetylation to be the most predictive covariates. Lastly, we generated an unbiased model of HSF binding sequences, which revealed distinct biophysical properties of the HSF/HSE interaction and a previously unrecognized substructure within the HSE. These findings provide new insights into the interplay between the genomic sequence and the chromatin landscape in determining transcription factor binding intensity.

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Guertin, M. J., Martins, A. L., Siepel, A., & Lis, J. T. (2012). Accurate prediction of inducible transcription factor binding intensities in Vivo. PLoS Genetics, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002610

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