David J Steger

University of Pennsylvania, Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States

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Publications (43)472.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Variants near the gene TRIB1 are significantly associated with several plasma lipid traits, circulating liver enzymes, and the development of coronary artery disease in humans; however, it is not clear how its protein product tribbles-1 regulates lipid metabolism. Here, we evaluated mice harboring a liver-specific deletion of Trib1 (Trib1_LSKO) to elucidate the role of tribbles-1 in mammalian hepatic lipid metabolism. These mice exhibited increased hepatic triglyceride (TG) content, lipogenic gene transcription, and de novo lipogenesis. Microarray analysis revealed altered transcription of genes that are downstream of the transcription factor C/EBPα, and Trib1_LSKO mice had increased hepatic C/EBPα protein. Hepatic overexpression of C/EBPα in WT mice phenocopied Trib1_LSKO livers, and hepatic knockout of Cebpa in Trib1_LSKO mice revealed that C/EBPα is required for the increased lipogenesis. Using ChIP-Seq, we found that Trib1_LSKO mice had increased DNA-bound C/EBPα near lipogenic genes and the Trib1 gene, which itself was transcriptionally upregulated by C/EBPα overexpression. Together, our results reveal that tribbles-1 regulates hepatic lipogenesis through posttranscriptional regulation of C/EBPα, which in turn transcriptionally upregulates Trib1. These data suggest an important role for C/EBPα in mediating the lipogenic effects of hepatic Trib1 deletion and provide insight into the association between TRIB1 and plasma lipids, and liver traits in humans.
    No preview · Article · Sep 2015 · The Journal of clinical investigation
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    ABSTRACT: SNPs affecting disease risk often reside in non-coding genomic regions. Here, we show that SNPs are highly enriched at mouse strain-selective adipose tissue binding sites for PPARγ, a nuclear receptor for anti-diabetic drugs. Many such SNPs alter binding motifs for PPARγ or cooperating factors and functionally regulate nearby genes whose expression is strain selective and imbalanced in heterozygous F1 mice. Moreover, genetically determined binding of PPARγ accounts for mouse strain-specific transcriptional effects of TZD drugs, providing proof of concept for personalized medicine related to nuclear receptor genomic occupancy. In human fat, motif-altering SNPs cause differential PPARγ binding, provide a molecular mechanism for some expression quantitative trait loci, and are risk factors for dysmetabolic traits in genome-wide association studies. One PPARγ motif-altering SNP is associated with HDL levels and other metabolic syndrome parameters. Thus, natural genetic variation in PPARγ genomic occupancy determines individual disease risk and drug response. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Cell
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    ABSTRACT: eLife digest Human body fat consists mostly of fat-storing cells called adipocytes. These cells develop in two main steps. First, mesenchymal stem cells—which can potentially become one of many different types of cell—commit to becoming pre-adipocyte cells. These pre-adipocytes then develop into mature adipocytes. Proteins called transcription factors control both steps of this process by binding to particular sites in the DNA of the cell and activating certain genes that control the cell's identity and activity. Various different transcription factors are known to stimulate the development of mesenchymal stem cells into adipocytes. Experiments performed on cells that have been grown in the laboratory suggest that the cells must also be tightly packed together to become adipocytes. Cohen et al. have now investigated the role a protein called C/EBPβ plays in the development of adipocytes, and have found that it plays different roles at different stages of development. When mesenchymal stem cells become tightly packed, more of another protein called ATF4 is produced. This protein binds to C/EBPβ, and the resulting two-protein complex then binds to sites on the DNA of the mesenchymal stem cell to activate genes that turn the stem cell into a pre-adipocyte. Reducing the amount of ATF4 in mesenchymal stem cells reduces the number of pre-adipocytes that develop. When not bound to ATF4, and in response to certain cell signals, C/EBPβ binds to different DNA sites and helps pre-adipocytes develop into mature adipocytes. Whether transcription factors other than ATF4 partner with C/EBPβ to change DNA-binding-site preferences remains unknown. Future studies will search for these, with the aim of providing a clearer molecular understanding for how C/EBPβ acts as a ‘bridge’ that links together the two stages of adipocyte development. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.06821.002
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · eLife Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Circadian and metabolic physiology are intricately intertwined, as illustrated by Rev-erbα, a transcription factor (TF) that functions both as a core repressive component of the cell autonomous clock and as a regulator of metabolic genes. Here we show that Rev-erbα modulates the clock and metabolism by different genomic mechanisms. Clock control requires Rev-erbα to bind directly to the genome at its cognate sites, where it competes with activating ROR TFs. By contrast, Rev-erbα regulates metabolic genes primarily by recruiting the HDAC3 corepressor to sites to which it is tethered by cell type-specific transcription factors. Thus, direct competition between Rev-erbα and ROR TFs provides a universal mechanism for self-sustained control of molecular clock across all tissues, whereas Rev-erbα utilizes lineage-determining factors to convey a tissue-specific epigenomic rhythm that regulates metabolism tailored to the specific need of that tissue.‬‬‬‬. Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Science
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    ABSTRACT: Glucocorticoids (GCs) are commonly prescribed drugs, but their anti-inflammatory benefits are mitigated by metabolic side effects. Their transcriptional effects, including tissue-specific gene activation and repression, are mediated by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which is known to bind as a homodimer to a palindromic DNA sequence. Using ChIP-exo in mouse liver under endogenous corticosterone exposure, we report here that monomeric GR interaction with a half-site motif is more prevalent than homodimer binding. Monomers colocalize with lineage-determining transcription factors in both liver and primary macrophages, and the GR half-site motif drives transcription, suggesting that monomeric binding is fundamental to GR's tissue-specific functions. In response to exogenous GC in vivo, GR dimers assemble on chromatin near ligand-activated genes, concomitant with monomer evacuation of sites near repressed genes. Thus, pharmacological GCs mediate gene expression by favoring GR homodimer occupancy at classic palindromic sites at the expense of monomeric binding. The findings have important implications for improving therapies that target GR.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Genome Research
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    ABSTRACT: PR (PRD1-BF1-RIZ1 homologous) domain-containing 16 (PRDM16) drives a brown fat differentiation program, but the mechanisms by which PRDM16 activates brown fat-selective genes have been unclear. Through chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) followed by deep sequencing (ChIP-seq) analyses in brown adipose tissue (BAT), we reveal that PRDM16 binding is highly enriched at a broad set of brown fat-selective genes. Importantly, we found that PRDM16 physically binds to MED1, a component of the Mediator complex, and recruits it to superenhancers at brown fat-selective genes. PRDM16 deficiency in BAT reduces MED1 binding at PRDM16 target sites and causes a fundamental change in chromatin architecture at key brown fat-selective genes. Together, these data indicate that PRDM16 controls chromatin architecture and superenhancer activity in BAT. © 2015 Harms et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015 · Genes & Development
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    ABSTRACT: Rosiglitazone (rosi) is a powerful insulin sensitizer, but serious toxicities have curtailed its widespread clinical use. Rosi functions as a high-affinity ligand for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), the adipocyte-predominant nuclear receptor (NR). The classic model, involving binding of ligand to the NR on DNA, explains positive regulation of gene expression, but ligand-dependent repression is not well understood. We addressed this issue by studying the direct effects of rosi on gene transcription using global run-on sequencing (GRO-seq). Rosi-induced changes in gene body transcription were pronounced after 10 min and correlated with steady-state mRNA levels as well as with transcription at nearby enhancers (enhancer RNAs [eRNAs]). Up-regulated eRNAs occurred almost exclusively at PPARγ-binding sites, to which rosi treatment recruited coactivators, including MED1, p300, and CBP. In contrast, transcriptional repression by rosi involved a loss of coactivators from eRNA sites devoid of PPARγ and enriched for other transcription factors, including AP-1 factors and C/EBPs. Thus, rosi activates and represses transcription by fundamentally different mechanisms that could inform the future development of anti-diabetic drugs.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · Genes & Development
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    ABSTRACT: Background Metabolic homeostasis in mammals critically depends on the regulation of fasting-induced genes by CREB in the liver. Previous genome-wide analysis has shown that only a small percentage of CREB target genes are induced in response to fasting-associated signaling pathways. The precise molecular mechanisms by which CREB specifically targets these genes in response to alternating hormonal cues remain to be elucidated. Results We performed chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing of CREB in livers from both fasted and re-fed mice. In order to quantitatively compare the extent of CREB-DNA interactions genome-wide between these two physiological conditions we developed a novel, robust analysis method, termed the ‘single sample independence’ (SSI) test that greatly reduced the number of false-positive peaks. We found that CREB remains constitutively bound to its target genes in the liver regardless of the metabolic state. Integration of the CREB cistrome with expression microarrays of fasted and re-fed mouse livers and ChIP-seq data for additional transcription factors revealed that the gene expression switches between the two metabolic states are associated with co-localization of additional transcription factors at CREB sites. Conclusions Our results support a model in which CREB is constitutively bound to thousands of target genes, and combinatorial interactions between DNA-binding factors are necessary to achieve the specific transcriptional response of the liver to fasting. Furthermore, our genome-wide analysis identifies thousands of novel CREB target genes in liver, and suggests a previously unknown role for CREB in regulating ER stress genes in response to nutrient influx.
    Full-text · Article · May 2013 · BMC Genomics
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    ABSTRACT: Fibroblastic preadipocyte cells are recruited to differentiate into new adipocytes during the formation and hyperplastic growth of white adipose tissue. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), the master regulator of adipogenesis, is expressed at low levels in preadipocytes, and its levels increase dramatically and rapidly during the differentiation process. However, the mechanisms controlling the dynamic and selective expression of PPARγ in the adipocyte lineage remain largely unknown. We show here that the zinc finger protein Evi1 increases in preadipocytes at the onset of differentiation prior to increases in PPARγ levels. Evi1 expression converts nonadipogenic cells into adipocytes via an increase in the predifferentiation levels of PPARγ2, the adipose-selective isoform of PPARγ. Conversely, loss of Evi1 in preadipocytes blocks the induction of PPARγ2 and suppresses adipocyte differentiation. Evi1 binds with C/EBPβ to regulatory sites in the Pparγ locus at early stages of adipocyte differentiation, coincident with the induction of Pparγ2 expression. These results indicate that Evi1 is a key regulator of adipogenic competency.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Macrophages, a key cellular component of inflammation, become functionally polarized in a signal- and context-specific manner. Th2 cytokines such as interleukin 4 (IL-4) polarize macrophages to a state of alternative activation that limits inflammation and promotes wound healing. Alternative activation is mediated by a transcriptional program that is influenced by epigenomic modifications, including histone acetylation. Here we report that macrophages lacking histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) display a polarization phenotype similar to IL-4-induced alternative activation and, furthermore, are hyperresponsive to IL-4 stimulation. Throughout the macrophage genome, HDAC3 deacetylates histone tails at regulatory regions, leading to repression of many IL-4-regulated genes characteristic of alternative activation. Following exposure to Schistosoma mansoni eggs, a model of Th2 cytokine-mediated disease that is limited by alternative activation, pulmonary inflammation was ameliorated in mice lacking HDAC3 in macrophages. Thus, HDAC3 functions in alternative activation as a brake whose release could be of benefit in the treatment of multiple inflammatory diseases.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2011 · Genes & development
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    ABSTRACT: The identification of factors that define adipocyte precursor potential has important implications for obesity. Preadipocytes are fibroblastoid cells committed to becoming round lipid-laden adipocytes. In vitro, this differentiation process is facilitated by confluency, followed by adipogenic stimuli. During adipogenesis, a large number of cytostructural genes are repressed before adipocyte gene induction. Here we report that the transcriptional repressor transcription factor 7-like 1 (TCF7L1) binds and directly regulates the expression of cell structure genes. Depletion of TCF7L1 inhibits differentiation, because TCF7L1 indirectly induces the adipogenic transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ in a manner that can be replaced by inhibition of myosin II activity. TCF7L1 is induced by cell contact in adipogenic cell lines, and ectopic expression of TCF7L1 alleviates the confluency requirement for adipocytic differentiation of precursor cells. In contrast, TCF7L1 is not induced during confluency of non-adipogenic fibroblasts, and, remarkably, forced expression of TCF7L1 is sufficient to commit non-adipogenic fibroblasts to an adipogenic fate. These results establish TCF7L1 as a transcriptional hub coordinating cell-cell contact with the transcriptional repression required for adipogenic competency.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    David J Steger · Mitchell A Lazar
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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors (TFs) orchestrate cell-fate decisions by programming the expression of many genes, including those of other TFs that further drive lineage specification. C/EBP proteins and glucocorticoid receptor (GR) activate transcription of the master regulator of adipocyte differentiation, PPARγ. A study in this issue of The EMBO Journal sheds light on how C/EBPs, GR, STAT5, and RXR cooperate during early adipogenesis to globally remodel the epigenome. © 2011 European Molecular Biology Organization | All Rights Reserved.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · The EMBO Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The transcriptional mechanisms by which temporary exposure to developmental signals instigates adipocyte differentiation are unknown. During early adipogenesis, we find transient enrichment of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein beta (CEBPbeta), p300, mediator subunit 1, and histone H3 acetylation near genes involved in cell proliferation, development, and differentiation, including the gene encoding the master regulator of adipocyte differentiation, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma2 (PPARgamma2). Occupancy and enhancer function are triggered by adipogenic signals, and diminish upon their removal. GR, which is important for adipogenesis but need not be active in the mature adipocyte, functions transiently with other enhancer proteins to propagate a new program of gene expression that includes induction of PPARgamma2, thereby providing a memory of the earlier adipogenic signal. Thus, the conversion of preadipocyte to adipocyte involves the formation of an epigenomic transition state that is not observed in cells at the beginning or end of the differentiation process.
    Full-text · Article · May 2010 · Genes & development
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    ABSTRACT: The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator activator receptor gamma (PPARgamma) is the target of antidiabetic thiazolidinedione drugs, which improve insulin resistance but have side effects that limit widespread use. PPARgamma is required for adipocyte differentiation, but it is also expressed in other cell types, notably macrophages, where it influences atherosclerosis, insulin resistance, and inflammation. A central question is whether PPARgamma binding in macrophages occurs at genomic locations the same as or different from those in adipocytes. Here, utilizing chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq), we demonstrate that PPARgamma cistromes in mouse adipocytes and macrophages are predominantly cell type specific. In thioglycolate-elicited macrophages, PPARgamma colocalizes with the hematopoietic transcription factor PU.1 in areas of open chromatin and histone acetylation, near a distinct set of immune genes in addition to a number of metabolic genes shared with adipocytes. In adipocytes, the macrophage-unique binding regions are marked with repressive histone modifications, typically associated with local chromatin compaction and gene silencing. PPARgamma, when introduced into preadipocytes, bound only to regions depleted of repressive histone modifications, where it increased DNA accessibility, enhanced histone acetylation, and induced gene expression. Thus, the cell specificity of PPARgamma function is regulated by cell-specific transcription factors, chromatin accessibility, and histone marks. Our data support the existence of an epigenomic hierarchy in which PPARgamma binding to cell-specific sites not marked by repressive marks opens chromatin and leads to local activation marks, including histone acetylation.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2010 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Adipocyte differentiation is controlled by many transcription factors, but few known downstream targets of these factors are necessary for adipogenesis. Here we report that retinol saturase (RetSat), which is an enzyme implicated in the generation of dihydroretinoid metabolites, is induced during adipogenesis and is directly regulated by the transcription factor peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma). Ablation of RetSat dramatically inhibited adipogenesis but, surprisingly, this block was not overcome by the putative product of RetSat enzymatic activity. On the other hand, ectopic RetSat with an intact, but not a mutated, FAD/NAD dinucleotide-binding motif increased endogenous PPARgamma transcriptional activity and promoted adipogenesis. Indeed, RetSat was not required for adipogenesis when cells were provided with exogenous PPARgamma ligands. In adipose tissue, RetSat is expressed in adipocytes but is unexpectedly downregulated in obesity, most likely owing to infiltration of macrophages that we demonstrate to repress RetSat expression. Thiazolidinedione treatment reversed low RetSat expression in adipose tissue of obese mice. Thus, RetSat plays an important role in the biology of adipocytes, where it favors normal differentiation, yet is reduced in the obese state. RetSat is thus a novel target for therapeutic intervention in metabolic disease.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
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    ABSTRACT: Nuclear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) is required for adipocyte differentiation, but its role in mature adipocytes is less clear. Here, we report that knockdown of PPARgamma expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes returned the expression of most adipocyte genes to preadipocyte levels. Consistently, down-regulated but not up-regulated genes showed strong enrichment of PPARgamma binding. Surprisingly, not all adipocyte genes were reversed, and the adipocyte morphology was maintained for an extended period after PPARgamma depletion. To explain this, we focused on transcriptional regulators whose adipogenic regulation was not reversed upon PPARgamma depletion. We identified GATA2, a transcription factor whose down-regulation early in adipogenesis is required for preadipocyte differentiation and whose levels remain low after PPARgamma knockdown. Forced expression of GATA2 in mature adipocytes complemented PPARgamma depletion and impaired adipocyte functionality with a more preadipocyte-like gene expression profile. Ectopic expression of GATA2 in adipose tissue in vivo had a similar effect on adipogenic gene expression. These results suggest that PPARgamma-independent down-regulation of GATA2 prevents reversion of mature adipocytes after PPARgamma depletion.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Resistin antagonizes insulin action in mouse, making it a potential therapeutic target for treating metabolic diseases such as diabetes. To better understand how mouse resistin gene (Retn) expression is restricted to fat tissue, we identified an adipocyte-specific enhancer located approximately 8.8-kb upstream of the transcription start site. This region contains a binding site for the master adipogenic regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), and binds endogenous PPARgamma together with its partner retinoid-X receptor alpha (RXRalpha). It also contains three binding sites for CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP), and is bound by endogenous C/EBPalpha and C/EBPbeta in adipocytes. Exogenous expression of PPARgamma/RXRalpha and C/EBPalpha in non-adipocyte cells synergistically drives robust expression from the enhancer. Although PPARgamma ligands repress Retn transcription in adipocytes, rosiglitazone paradoxically stimulates the enhancer activity, suggesting that the enhancer is not directly involved in negative regulation. Unlike expression of Retn in mouse, human resistin (RETN) is expressed primarily in macrophages. Interestingly, the region homologous to the mouse Retn enhancer in the human gene contains all three C/EBP elements, but is not conserved for the sequence bound by PPARgamma. Furthermore, it displays little or no binding by PPARgamma in vitro. Taken together, the data suggest that a composite enhancer binding both PPARgamma and C/EBP factors confers adipocyte-specific expression to Retn in mouse, and its absence from the human gene may explain the lack of adipocyte expression in humans.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2009 · Journal of Biological Chemistry
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    ABSTRACT: Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma(PPARgamma), a nuclear receptor and the target of anti-diabetic thiazolinedione drugs, is known as the master regulator of adipocyte biology. Although it regulates hundreds of adipocyte genes, PPARgamma binding to endogenous genes has rarely been demonstrated. Here, utilizing chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) coupled with whole genome tiling arrays, we identified 5299 genomic regions of PPARgamma binding in mouse 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The consensus PPARgamma/RXRalpha "DR-1"-binding motif was found at most of the sites, and ChIP for RXRalpha showed colocalization at nearly all locations tested. Bioinformatics analysis also revealed CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBP)-binding motifs in the vicinity of most PPARgamma-binding sites, and genome-wide analysis of C/EBPalpha binding demonstrated that it localized to 3350 of the locations bound by PPARgamma. Importantly, most genes induced in adipogenesis were bound by both PPARgamma and C/EBPalpha, while very few were PPARgamma-specific. C/EBPbeta also plays a role at many of these genes, such that both C/EBPalpha and beta are required along with PPARgamma for robust adipocyte-specific gene expression. Thus, PPARgamma and C/EBP factors cooperatively orchestrate adipocyte biology by adjacent binding on an unanticipated scale.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2008 · Genes & Development
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    ABSTRACT: Classically, activated transcription by nuclear receptors (NRs) is due to a ligand-induced switch from corepressor- to coactivator-bound states. However, coactivators and corepressors recognize overlapping surfaces of liganded and unliganded NRs, respectively. Here we show that, at sufficiently high concentration, the NR corepressor (NCoR) influences the activity of the liver X receptor (LXR) even in the presence of a potent full agonist that destabilizes NCoR binding. Partial agonist ligands that less effectively dissociate NCoR from LXR are even more sensitive to NCoR levels, in a target gene-selective manner. Thus, differential recruitment of NCoR is a major determinant of partial agonism and selective LXR modulation of target genes.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2008 · Molecular Endocrinology
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    Felix H Lam · David J Steger · Erin K O'Shea
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    ABSTRACT: Chromatin influences gene expression by restricting access of DNA binding proteins to their cognate sites in the genome. Large-scale characterization of nucleosome positioning in Saccharomyces cerevisiae has revealed a stereotyped promoter organization in which a nucleosome-free region (NFR) is present within several hundred base pairs upstream of the translation start site. Many transcription factors bind within NFRs and nucleate chromatin remodelling events which then expose other cis-regulatory elements. However, it is not clear how transcription-factor binding and chromatin influence quantitative attributes of gene expression. Here we show that nucleosomes function largely to decouple the threshold of induction from dynamic range. With a series of variants of one promoter, we establish that the affinity of exposed binding sites is a primary determinant of the level of physiological stimulus necessary for substantial gene activation, and sites located within nucleosomal regions serve to scale expression once chromatin is remodelled. Furthermore, we find that the S. cerevisiae phosphate response (PHO) pathway exploits these promoter designs to tailor gene expression to different environmental phosphate levels. Our results suggest that the interplay of chromatin and binding-site affinity provides a mechanism for fine-tuning responses to the same cellular state. Moreover, these findings may be a starting point for more detailed models of eukaryotic transcriptional control.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2008 · Nature

Publication Stats

3k Citations
472.94 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2010-2015
    • University of Pennsylvania
      • • Department of Cell and Developmental Biology
      • • Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2008-2014
    • William Penn University
      Filadelfia, Pennsylvania, United States
    • Harvard University
      • Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 1998-2004
    • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
      Ашбърн, Virginia, United States
  • 1999-2000
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 1994-2000
    • University of California, San Diego
      • Department of Reproductive Medicine
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1996-1999
    • Pennsylvania State University
      • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
      University Park, MD, United States
  • 1991
    • Salk Institute
      لا هویا, California, United States