A DNA structural atlas for

Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Capital Region, Denmark
Journal of Molecular Biology (Impact Factor: 4.33). 07/2000; 299(4):907-30. DOI: 10.1006/jmbi.2000.3787
Source: PubMed


We have performed a computational analysis of DNA structural features in 18 fully sequenced prokaryotic genomes using models for DNA curvature, DNA flexibility, and DNA stability. The structural values that are computed for the Escherichia coli chromosome are significantly different from (and generally more extreme than) that expected from the nucleotide composition. To aid this analysis, we have constructed tools that plot structural measures for all positions in a long DNA sequence (e.g. an entire chromosome) in the form of color-coded wheels ( dk/services/GenomeAtlas/). We find that these "structural atlases" are useful for the discovery of interesting features that may then be investigated in more depth using statistical methods. From investigation of the E. coli structural atlas, we discovered a genome-wide trend, where an extended region encompassing the terminus displays a high of level curvature, a low level of flexibility, and a low degree of helix stability. The same situation is found in the distantly related Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus subtilis, suggesting that the phenomenon is biologically relevant. Based on a search for long DNA segments where all the independent structural measures agree, we have found a set of 20 regions with identical and very extreme structural properties. Due to their strong inherent curvature, we suggest that these may function as topological domain boundaries by efficiently organizing plectonemically supercoiled DNA. Interestingly, we find that in practically all the investigated eubacterial and archaeal genomes, there is a trend for promoter DNA being more curved, less flexible, and less stable than DNA in coding regions and in intergenic DNA without promoters. This trend is present regardless of the absolute levels of the structural parameters, and we suggest that this may be related to the requirement for helix unwinding during initiation of transcription, or perhaps to the previously observed location of promoters at the apex of plectonemically supercoiled DNA. We have also analyzed the structural similarities between groups of genes by clustering all RNA and protein-encoding genes in E. coli, based on the average structural parameters. We find that most ribosomal genes (protein-encoding as well as rRNA genes) cluster together, and we suggest that DNA structure may play a role in the transcription of these highly expressed genes.

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Available from: Anders Gorm Pedersen
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    • "Several previous studies have analyzed structural profiles of prokaryotic promoter regions [7], [8]. On average, most prokaryotic promoters appeared to be less stable, more rigid, and more extremely curved than other genomic regions [7], [9]–[13]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The structural properties of the DNA molecule are known to play a critical role in transcription. In this paper, the structural profiles of promoter regions were studied within the context of their diversity and their function for eleven prokaryotic species; Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella Typhimurium, Pseudomonas auroginosa, Geobacter sulfurreducens Helicobacter pylori, Chlamydophila pneumoniae, Synechocystis sp., Synechoccocus elongates, Bacillus anthracis, and the archaea Sulfolobus solfataricus. The main anchor point for these promoter regions were transcription start sites identified through high-throughput experiments or collected within large curated databases. Prokaryotic promoter regions were found to be less stable and less flexible than the genomic mean across all studied species. However, direct comparison between species revealed differences in their structural profiles that can not solely be explained by the difference in genomic GC content. In addition, comparison with functional data revealed that there are patterns in the promoter structural profiles that can be linked to specific functional loci, such as sigma factor regulation or transcription factor binding. Interestingly, a novel structural element clearly visible near the transcription start site was found in genes associated with essential cellular functions and growth in several species. Our analyses reveals the great diversity in promoter structural profiles both between and within prokaryotic species. We observed relationships between structural diversity and functional features that are interesting prospects for further research to yet uncharacterized functional loci defined by DNA structural properties.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "The genome atlas presented here is an implementation of the atlas presented earlier by Jensen et al. 1999 [4], [6]. Below is a short description of each of the parameters shown in the DNA atlases. "
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    ABSTRACT: Today, there are more than a hundred times as many sequenced prokaryotic genomes than were present in the year 2000. The economical sequencing of genomic DNA has facilitated a whole new approach to microbial genomics. The real power of genomics is manifested through comparative genomics that can reveal strain specific characteristics, diversity within species and many other aspects. However, comparative genomics is a field not easily entered into by scientists with few computational skills. The CMG-biotools package is designed for microbiologists with limited knowledge of computational analysis and can be used to perform a number of analyses and comparisons of genomic data. The CMG-biotools system presents a stand-alone interface for comparative microbial genomics. The package is a customized operating system, based on Xubuntu 10.10, available through the open source Ubuntu project. The system can be installed on a virtual computer, allowing the user to run the system alongside any other operating system. Source codes for all programs are provided under GNU license, which makes it possible to transfer the programs to other systems if so desired. We here demonstrate the package by comparing and analyzing the diversity within the class Negativicutes, represented by 31 genomes including 10 genera. The analyses include 16S rRNA phylogeny, basic DNA and codon statistics, proteome comparisons using BLAST and graphical analyses of DNA structures. This paper shows the strength and diverse use of the CMG-biotools system. The system can be installed on a vide range of host operating systems and utilizes as much of the host computer as desired. It allows the user to compare multiple genomes, from various sources using standardized data formats and intuitive visualizations of results. The examples presented here clearly shows that users with limited computational experience can perform complicated analysis without much training.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · PLoS ONE
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    • "There is the “classical” mechanism, involving sigma and specific transcription factors binding DNA sequences located in the proximity of the transcrip-tion initiation site of a gene and able to induce or repress transcription initiation by the RNA polymerase [18]. Then there is a more recently discovered mechanism based on the regulation of DNA topology controlled by Nucleoid Associated Proteins (NAP) and topoisomerases [19-23] and partially characterized by several physical parameters, such as DNA stability, curvature and supercoiling [24,25]. Both processes involve trans-regulatory factors (i.e., proteins binding to DNA) interacting, with varying degrees of specificity, with the cis-regulatory elements (i.e., DNA sequences). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background Buchnera aphidicola is an obligate symbiotic bacterium, associated with most of the aphididae, whose genome has drastically shrunk during intracellular evolution. Gene regulation in Buchnera has been a matter of controversy in recent years as the combination of genomic information with the experimental results has been contradictory, refuting or arguing in favour of a functional and responsive transcription regulation in Buchnera. The goal of this study was to describe the gene transcription regulation capabilities of Buchnera based on the inventory of cis- and trans-regulators encoded in the genomes of five strains from different aphids (Acyrthosiphon pisum, Schizaphis graminum, Baizongia pistacea, Cinara cedri and Cinara tujafilina), as well as on the characterisation of some intrinsic structural properties of the DNA molecule in these bacteria. Results Interaction graph analysis shows that gene neighbourhoods are conserved between E. coli and Buchnera in structures called transcriptons, interactons and metabolons, indicating that selective pressures have acted on the evolution of transcriptional, protein-protein interaction and metabolic networks in Buchnera. The transcriptional regulatory network in Buchnera is composed of a few general DNA-topological regulators (Nucleoid Associated Proteins and topoisomerases), with the quasi-absence of any specific ones (except for multifunctional enzymes with a known gene expression regulatory role in Escherichia coli, such as AlaS, PepA and BolA, and the uncharacterized hypothetical regulators YchA and YrbA). The relative positioning of regulatory genes along the chromosome of Buchnera seems to have conserved its ancestral state, despite the genome erosion. Sigma-70 promoters with canonical thermodynamic sequence profiles were detected upstream of about 94% of the CDS of Buchnera in the different aphids. Based on Stress-Induced Duplex Destabilization (SIDD) measurements, unstable σ70 promoters were found specifically associated with the regulator and transporter genes. Conclusions This genomic analysis provides supporting evidence of a selection of functional regulatory structures and it has enabled us to propose hypotheses concerning possible links between these regulatory elements and the DNA-topology (i.e., supercoiling, curvature, flexibility and base-pair stability) in the regulation of gene expression in the shrunken genome of Buchnera.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · BMC Genomics
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