1. Computational and Systems Biology
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Synthetic and genomic regulatory elements reveal aspects of cis-regulatory grammar in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells

  1. Dana M King
  2. Clarice Kit Yee Hong
  3. James L Shepherdson
  4. David M Granas
  5. Brett B Maricque
  6. Barak Cohen  Is a corresponding author
  1. Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, United States
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e41279 doi: 10.7554/eLife.41279

Abstract

In embryonic stem cells (ESCs), a core transcription factor (TF) network establishes the gene expression program necessary for pluripotency. To address how interactions between four key TFs contribute to cis-regulation in mouse ESCs, we assayed two massively parallel reporter assay (MPRA) libraries composed of binding sites for SOX2, POU5F1 (OCT4), KLF4, and ESRRB. Comparisons between synthetic cis-regulatory elements and genomic sequences with comparable binding site configurations revealed some aspects of a regulatory grammar. The expression of synthetic elements is influenced by both the number and arrangement of binding sites. This grammar plays only a small role for genomic sequences, as the relative activities of genomic sequences are best explained by the predicted affinity of binding sites, regardless of binding site identity and positioning. Our results suggest that the effects of transcription factor binding sites (TFBS) are influenced by the order and orientation of sites, but that in the genome the overall occupancy of TFs is the primary determinant of activity.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Dana M King

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-4635-5272
  2. Clarice Kit Yee Hong

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. James L Shepherdson

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. David M Granas

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Brett B Maricque

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Barak Cohen

    Edison Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University in St Louis School of Medicine, St Louis, United States
    For correspondence
    cohen@wustl.edu
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-3350-2715

Funding

National Institutes of Health (R01 GM092910)

  • Barak Cohen

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Patricia J Wittkopp, University of Michigan, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: August 20, 2018
  2. Accepted: February 7, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: February 11, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2020, King et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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