Functionally Related Genes Cluster into Genomic Regions That Coordinate Transcription at a Distance in Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Alanna Cera, Maria K. Holganza, Ahmad Abu Hardan, Irvin Gamarra, Reem S. Eldabagh, Megan Deschaine, Sarah Elkamhawy, Exequiel M. Sisso, Jonathan J. Foley, IV, James T. Arnone

ASM mSphere


Balancing gene expression is a fundamental challenge of all cell types. To properly regulate transcription on a genome-wide level, there are myriad mechanisms employed by the cell. One layer to this regulation is through spatial positioning, with particular chromosomal loci exerting an influence on transcription throughout a region. Many coregulated gene families utilize spatial positioning to coordinate transcription, with functionally related genes clustering together which can allow coordinated expression via adjacent gene coregulation. The mechanisms underlying this process have not been elucidated, though there are many coregulated gene families that exhibit this genomic distribution. In the present study, we tested for a role for the enhancer-promoter (EP) hypothesis, which demonstrates that regulatory elements can exert transcriptional effects over a broad distance, in coordinating transcriptional coregulation using budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We empirically validated the EP model, finding that the genomic distance a promoter can affect varies by locus, which can profoundly affect levels of transcription, phenotype, and the extent of transcriptional disruption throughout a genomic region. Using the nitrogen metabolism, ribosomal protein, toxin response, and heat shock gene families as our test case, we report functionally clustered genes localize to genomic loci that are more conducive to transcriptional regulation at a distance compared to the unpaired members of the same families. Furthermore, we report that the coregulation of functional clusters is dependent, in part, on chromatin maintenance and remodeling, providing one mechanism underlying adjacent gene coregulation.