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Open Access Open Badges Research article

New insights into two distinct nucleosome distributions: comparison of cross-platform positioning datasets in the yeast genome

Jihua Feng, Xianhua Dai*, Qian Xiang, Zhiming Dai, Jiang Wang, Yangyang Deng and Caisheng He

Author Affiliations

School of Information Science and Technology, Sun Yat-Sen University, 135 West Xin'gang Road, Guangzhou, PR China

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:33  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-33

Published: 15 January 2010



Recently, a number of high-resolution genome-wide maps of nucleosome locations in S. cerevisiae have been derived experimentally. However, nucleosome positions are determined in vivo by the combined effects of numerous factors. Consequently, nucleosomes are not simple static units, which may explain the discrepancies in reported nucleosome positions as measured by different experiments. In order to more accurately depict the genome-wide nucleosome distribution, we integrated multiple nucleosomal positioning datasets using a multi-angle analysis strategy.


To evaluate the contribution of chromatin structure to transcription, we used the vast amount of available nucleosome analyzed data. Analysis of this data allowed for the comprehensive identification of the connections between promoter nucleosome positioning patterns and various transcription-dependent properties. Further, we characterised the function of nucleosome destabilisation in the context of transcription regulation. Our results indicate that genes with similar nucleosome occupancy patterns share general transcription attributes. We identified the local regulatory correlation (LRC) regions for two distinct types of nucleosomes and we assessed their regulatory properties. We also estimated the nucleosome reproducibility and measurement accuracy for high-confidence transcripts. We found that by maintaining a distance of ~13 bp between the upstream border of the +1 nucleosome and the transcription start sites (TSSs), the stable +1 nucleosome may form a barrier against the accessibility of the TSS and shape an optimum chromatin conformation for gene regulation. An in-depth analysis of nucleosome positioning in normally growing and heat shock cells suggested that the extent and patterns of nucleosome sliding are associated with gene activation.


Our results, which combine different types of data, suggest that cross-platform information, including discrepancy and consistency, reflects the mechanisms of nucleosome packaging in vivo more faithfully than individual studies. Furthermore, nucleosomes can be divided into two classes according to their stable and dynamic characteristics. We found that two different nucleosome-positioning characteristics may significantly impact transcription programs. Besides, some positioned-nucleosomes are involved in the transition from stable state to dynamic state in response to abrupt environmental changes.