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The molecular evolution of nucleosome positioning through sequence-dependent deformation of the DNA polymer.
ABSTRACT The computational prediction of nucleosome positioning from DNA sequence now allows for in silico investigation of the molecular evolution of biophysical properties of the DNA molecule responsible for primary chromatin organization in the genome. To discern what signal components driving nucleosome positioning in the yeast genome are potentially targeted by natural selection, we compare the performance of various models predictive of nucleosome positioning within the context of a simple statistical test, the repositioned mutation test. We demonstrate that while nucleosome occupancy is driven largely by translational exclusion in response to AT content, there is also a strong signature of evolutionary conservation of regular patterns within nucleosomal DNA sequence related to the structural organization of the nucleosome core (e.g., 10-bp dinucleotide periodicity). We also use computer simulations to investigate hypothetical coding and regulatory constraints on the ability of sequence properties affecting nucleosome formation to adaptively evolve. Our results demonstrate that natural selection may act independently on different DNA sequence properties responsible for local chromatin organization. Furthermore, at least with respect to the deformation energy of the DNA molecule in the nucleosome, the presence of the genetic code has greatly restricted the ability of sequences to evolve the dynamic nucleosome organization typically observed in promoter regions.
SourceAvailable from: Gregory Alan Babbitt[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: While mRNA stability has been demonstrated to control rates of translation, generating both global and local synonymous codon biases in many unicellular organisms, this explanation cannot adequately explain why codon bias strongly tracks neighboring intergene GC content; suggesting that structural dynamics of DNA might also influence codon choice. Because minor groove width is highly governed by 3- base periodicity in GC, the existence of triplet-based codons might imply a functional role for the optimization of local DNA molecular dynamics via GC content at synonymous sites (≈GC3). We confirm a strong association between GC3-related intrinsic DNA flexibility and codon bias across 24 different prokaryotic multiple whole-genome alignments. We develop a novel test of natural selection targeting synonymous sites and demonstrate that GC3-related DNA backbone dynamics have been subject to moderate selective pressure, perhaps contributing to our observation that many genes possess extreme DNA backbone dynamics for their given protein space. This dual function of codons may impose universal functional constraints affecting the evolution of synonymous and non-synonymous sites. We propose that synonymous sites may have evolved as an ‘accessory’ during an early expansion of a primordial genetic code, allowing formultiplexed protein coding and structural dynamic information within the same molecular context.Nucleic Acids Research 08/2014; 42(17). DOI:10.1093/nar/gku811 · 8.81 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Similar to regularly spaced nucleosomes in chromatin, long tandem DNA arrays are composed of regularly alternating monomers that have almost identical primary DNA structures. Such a similarity in the structural organization makes these arrays especially interesting for studying the role of intrinsic DNA preferences in nucleosome positioning. We have studied the nucleosome formation potential of DNA tandem repeat families with different monomer lengths (ML). In total, 165 plant tandem repeat families from the PlantSat database ( http://w3lamc.umbr.cas.cz/PlantSat/ ) were divided into two classes based on the number of nucleosome repeats in one DNA monomer. For predicting nucleosome formation potential, we developed the Phase method, which combines the advantages of multiple bioinformatics models. The Phase method was able to distinguish interfamily differences and intrafamily monomer variation and identify the influence of nucleotide context on nucleosome formation potential. Three main types of nucleosome arrangement in DNA tandem repeat arrays - regular, partially regular (partial), and flexible - were distinguished among a great variety of Phase profiles. The regular type, in which all nucleosomes of the monomer array are positioned in a context-dependent manner, is the most representative type of the class 1 families, with ML equal to or a multiple of the nucleosome repeat length (NRL). In the partially regular type, nucleotide context influences the positioning of only a subset of nucleosomes. The influence of the nucleotide context on nucleosome positioning has the least effect in the flexible type, which contains the greatest number of families (65). The majority of these families belong to class 2 and have nonmultiple ML to NRL ratios.Journal of biomolecular Structure & Dynamics 02/2013; DOI:10.1080/07391102.2012.755796 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: An estimated 80% of genomic DNA in eukaryotes is packaged as nucleosomes, which, together with the remaining interstitial linker regions, generate higher order chromatin structures . Nucleosome sequences isolated from diverse organisms exhibit ∼10 bp periodic variations in AA, TT and GC dinucleotide frequencies. These sequence elements generate intrinsically curved DNA and help establish the histone-DNA interface. We investigated an important unanswered question concerning the interplay between chromatin organization and genome evolution: do the DNA sequence preferences inherent to the highly conserved histone core exert detectable natural selection on genomic divergence and polymorphism? To address this hypothesis, we isolated nucleosomal DNA sequences from Drosophila melanogaster embryos and examined the underlying genomic variation within and between species. We found that divergence along the D. melanogaster lineage is periodic across nucleosome regions with base changes following preferred nucleotides, providing new evidence for systematic evolutionary forces in the generation and maintenance of nucleosome-associated dinucleotide periodicities. Further, Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) frequency spectra show striking periodicities across nucleosomal regions, paralleling divergence patterns. Preferred alleles occur at higher frequencies in natural populations, consistent with a central role for natural selection. These patterns are stronger for nucleosomes in introns than in intergenic regions, suggesting selection is stronger in transcribed regions where nucleosomes undergo more displacement, remodeling and functional modification. In addition, we observe a large-scale (∼180 bp) periodic enrichment of AA/TT dinucleotides associated with nucleosome occupancy, while GC dinucleotide frequency peaks in linker regions. Divergence and polymorphism data also support a role for natural selection in the generation and maintenance of these super-nucleosomal patterns. Our results demonstrate that nucleosome-associated sequence periodicities are under selective pressure, implying that structural interactions between nucleosomes and DNA sequence shape sequence evolution, particularly in introns.PLoS Genetics 07/2014; 10(7):e1004457. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004457 · 8.17 Impact Factor