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Nucleic Acids Res. 2010 Apr;38(7):2154-67. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp1180. Epub 2010 Jan 6.

On the detection and refinement of transcription factor binding sites using ChIP-Seq data.

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  • 1Center for Statistical Genetics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


Coupling chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) with recently developed massively parallel sequencing technologies has enabled genome-wide detection of protein-DNA interactions with unprecedented sensitivity and specificity. This new technology, ChIP-Seq, presents opportunities for in-depth analysis of transcription regulation. In this study, we explore the value of using ChIP-Seq data to better detect and refine transcription factor binding sites (TFBS). We introduce a novel computational algorithm named Hybrid Motif Sampler (HMS), specifically designed for TFBS motif discovery in ChIP-Seq data. We propose a Bayesian model that incorporates sequencing depth information to aid motif identification. Our model also allows intra-motif dependency to describe more accurately the underlying motif pattern. Our algorithm combines stochastic sampling and deterministic 'greedy' search steps into a novel hybrid iterative scheme. This combination accelerates the computation process. Simulation studies demonstrate favorable performance of HMS compared to other existing methods. When applying HMS to real ChIP-Seq datasets, we find that (i) the accuracy of existing TFBS motif patterns can be significantly improved; and (ii) there is significant intra-motif dependency inside all the TFBS motifs we tested; modeling these dependencies further improves the accuracy of these TFBS motif patterns. These findings may offer new biological insights into the mechanisms of transcription factor regulation.

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