Alec Victorsen

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States

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Publications (6)108.22 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Annotation of regulatory elements and identification of the transcription-related factors (TRFs) targeting these elements are key steps in understanding how cells interpret their genetic blueprint and their environment during development, and how that process goes awry in the case of disease. One goal of the modENCODE (model organism ENCyclopedia of DNA Elements) Project is to survey a diverse sampling of TRFs, both DNA-binding and non-DNA-binding factors, to provide a framework for the subsequent study of the mechanisms by which transcriptional regulators target the genome. Here we provide an updated map of the Drosophila melanogaster regulatory genome based on the location of 84 TRFs at various stages of development. This regulatory map reveals a variety of genomic targeting patterns, including factors with strong preferences toward proximal promoter binding, factors that target intergenic and intronic DNA, and factors with distinct chromatin state preferences. The data also highlight the stringency of the Polycomb regulatory network, and show association of the Trithorax-like (Trl) protein with hotspots of DNA binding throughout development. Furthermore, the data identify more than 5800 instances in which TRFs target DNA regions with demonstrated enhancer activity. Regions of high TRF co-occupancy are more likely to be associated with open enhancers used across cell types, while lower TRF occupancy regions are associated with complex enhancers that are also regulated at the epigenetic level. Together these data serve as a resource for the research community in the continued effort to dissect transcriptional regulatory mechanisms directing Drosophila development.
    Genome research. 07/2014; 24(7):1224-35.
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    ABSTRACT: Bacterial persistence is characterized by the ability of a subpopulation within bacterial cultures to survive exposure to antibiotics, and other lethal treatments. The surviving persisters are not the result of genetic changes, but represent epigenetic variants that are in a physiological state where growth is inhibited. Since characterization of persisters has been performed mainly in Escherichia coli K-12, we sought to identify mechanisms of persistence in the pathogen Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Isolation of new high persistent mutants revealed the shpAB locus (Salmonella high persistence) imparted a 3-4 order of magnitude increase in survival to ampicillin exposure throughout its growth phase, and protected the population against exposure to multiple antibiotics. Genetic characterization revealed that shpAB is a newly discovered toxin-antitoxin (TA) module. The high persistence phenotype was attributed to a nonsense mutation in the 3' end of the shpB gene encoding an antitoxin protein. Characteristic of other TA modules, shpAB is autoregulated and high persistence depends on the Lon protease.
    Journal of bacteriology 11/2012; · 3.94 Impact Factor
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    Nature 01/2012; 489(7414):57-74. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: While translational stop codon readthrough is often used by viral genomes, it has been observed for only a handful of eukaryotic genes. We previously used comparative genomics evidence to recognize protein-coding regions in 12 species of Drosophila and showed that for 149 genes, the open reading frame following the stop codon has a protein-coding conservation signature, hinting that stop codon readthrough might be common in Drosophila. We return to this observation armed with deep RNA sequence data from the modENCODE project, an improved higher-resolution comparative genomics metric for detecting protein-coding regions, comparative sequence information from additional species, and directed experimental evidence. We report an expanded set of 283 readthrough candidates, including 16 double-readthrough candidates; these were manually curated to rule out alternatives such as A-to-I editing, alternative splicing, dicistronic translation, and selenocysteine incorporation. We report experimental evidence of translation using GFP tagging and mass spectrometry for several readthrough regions. We find that the set of readthrough candidates differs from other genes in length, composition, conservation, stop codon context, and in some cases, conserved stem-loops, providing clues about readthrough regulation and potential mechanisms. Lastly, we expand our studies beyond Drosophila and find evidence of abundant readthrough in several other insect species and one crustacean, and several readthrough candidates in nematode and human, suggesting that functionally important translational stop codon readthrough is significantly more prevalent in Metazoa than previously recognized.
    Genome Research 12/2011; 21(12):2096-113. · 14.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mission of the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) Project is to enable the scientific and medical communities to interpret the human genome sequence and apply it to understand human biology and improve health. The ENCODE Consortium is integrating multiple technologies and approaches in a collective effort to discover and define the functional elements encoded in the human genome, including genes, transcripts, and transcriptional regulatory regions, together with their attendant chromatin states and DNA methylation patterns. In the process, standards to ensure high-quality data have been implemented, and novel algorithms have been developed to facilitate analysis. Data and derived results are made available through a freely accessible database. Here we provide an overview of the project and the resources it is generating and illustrate the application of ENCODE data to interpret the human genome.
    PLoS Biology 04/2011; 9(4):e1001046. · 12.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Systematic annotation of gene regulatory elements is a major challenge in genome science. Direct mapping of chromatin modification marks and transcriptional factor binding sites genome-wide has successfully identified specific subtypes of regulatory elements. In Drosophila several pioneering studies have provided genome-wide identification of Polycomb response elements, chromatin states, transcription factor binding sites, RNA polymerase II regulation and insulator elements; however, comprehensive annotation of the regulatory genome remains a significant challenge. Here we describe results from the modENCODE cis-regulatory annotation project. We produced a map of the Drosophila melanogaster regulatory genome on the basis of more than 300 chromatin immunoprecipitation data sets for eight chromatin features, five histone deacetylases and thirty-eight site-specific transcription factors at different stages of development. Using these data we inferred more than 20,000 candidate regulatory elements and validated a subset of predictions for promoters, enhancers and insulators in vivo. We identified also nearly 2,000 genomic regions of dense transcription factor binding associated with chromatin activity and accessibility. We discovered hundreds of new transcription factor co-binding relationships and defined a transcription factor network with over 800 potential regulatory relationships.
    Nature 03/2011; 471(7339):527-31. · 38.60 Impact Factor