High nucleosome occupancy is encoded at human regulatory sequences

Desiree Tillo, Noam Kaplan, Irene K. Moore, Yvonne Fondufe-Mittendorf, Andrea J. Gossett, Yair Field, Jason D. Lieb, Jonathan Widom, Eran Segal, Timothy R. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

145 Scopus citations


Active eukaryotic regulatory sites are characterized by open chromatin, and yeast promoters and transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) typically have low intrinsic nucleosome occupancy. Here, we show that in contrast to yeast, DNA at human promoters, enhancers, and TFBSs generally encodes high intrinsic nucleosome occupancy. In most cases we examined, these elements also have high experimentally measured nucleosome occupancy in vivo. These regions typically have high G+C content, which correlates positively with intrinsic nucleosome occupancy, and are depleted for nucleosome-excluding poly-A sequences. We propose that high nucleosome preference is directly encoded at regulatory sequences in the human genome to restrict access to regulatory information that will ultimately be utilized in only a subset of differentiated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere9129
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 9 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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