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Spatial localization of co-regulated genes exceeds genomic gene clustering in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome

Nucleic Acids Research
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1093/nar/gks1360
  • Gene Regulation
  • Chromatin And Epigenetics
  • Biology
  • Design


While it has been long recognized that genes are not randomly positioned along the genome, the degree to which its 3D structure influences the arrangement of genes has remained elusive. In particular, several lines of evidence suggest that actively transcribed genes are spatially co-localized, forming transcription factories; however, a generalized systematic test has hitherto not been described. Here we reveal transcription factories using a rigorous definition of genomic structure based on Saccharomyces cerevisiae chromosome conformation capture data, coupled with an experimental design controlling for the primary gene order. We develop a data-driven method for the interpolation and the embedding of such datasets and introduce statistics that enable the comparison of the spatial and genomic densities of genes. Combining these, we report evidence that co-regulated genes are clustered in space, beyond their observed clustering in the context of gene order along the genome and show this phenomenon is significant for 64 out of 117 transcription factors. Furthermore, we show that those transcription factors with high spatially co-localized targets are expressed higher than those whose targets are not spatially clustered. Collectively, our results support the notion that, at a given time, the physical density of genes is intimately related to regulatory activity.

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