Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Genomics and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

YY1's DNA-Binding motifs in mammalian olfactory receptor genes

Christopher D Faulk and Joomyeong Kim*

Author Affiliations

Department of Biological Sciences, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Genomics 2009, 10:576  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-10-576

Published: 3 December 2009



YY1 is an epigenetic regulator for a large number of mammalian genes. While performing genome-wide YY1 binding motif searches, we discovered that the olfactory receptor (OLFR) genes have an unusual cluster of YY1 binding sites within their coding regions. The statistical significance of this observation was further analyzed.


About 45% of the olfactory genes in the mouse have a range of 4-8 YY1 binding sites within their respective 1 kb coding regions. Statistical analyses indicate that this enrichment of YY1 motifs has likely been driven by unknown selection pressures at the DNA level, but not serendipitously by some peptides enriched within the OLFR genes. Similar patterns are also detected in the OLFR genes of all mammals analyzed, but not in the OLFR genes of the fish lineage, suggesting a mammal-specific phenomenon.


YY1, or YY1-related transcription factors, may help regulate olfactory receptor genes. Furthermore, the protein-coding regions of vertebrate genes can contain cis-regulatory elements for transcription factor binding as well as codons.