Deciphering the Contribution of Cis-regulatory Variants to Gene Expression Patterns


Joshua Rest, University of Chicago


February 20, 2007, 12:30 pm – 2:30 pm


Bldg. 221, Conference Room A216, Argonne National Laboratory


Gene expression is controlled by transcription factors that bind to a variable family of motifs in a gene’s promoter; however the role of variability within motif families has not been systematically studied. Deciphering the function of these variable positions is important for understanding the complex cis-regulatory code that underlies the physiology, ecology and evolution of gene expression. Using a computational approach, I show that functional variants of these motifs among genes within the yeast genome are associated with condition-specific differential expression. The regulatory consequences of these variants are often conserved across different yeast species, and their evolution is associated with change in gene expression. The power of binding site variants to predict gene expression is tested by experimentally switching between binding site variants through site-directed mutagenesis in yeast.

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