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Nat Methods. 2009 Apr;6(4):283-9. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1313. Epub 2009 Mar 22.

Global mapping of protein-DNA interactions in vivo by digital genomic footprinting.

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Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, USA.


The orchestrated binding of transcriptional activators and repressors to specific DNA sequences in the context of chromatin defines the regulatory program of eukaryotic genomes. We developed a digital approach to assay regulatory protein occupancy on genomic DNA in vivo by dense mapping of individual DNase I cleavages from intact nuclei using massively parallel DNA sequencing. Analysis of >23 million cleavages across the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome revealed thousands of protected regulatory protein footprints, enabling de novo derivation of factor binding motifs and the identification of hundreds of new binding sites for major regulators. We observed striking correspondence between single-nucleotide resolution DNase I cleavage patterns and protein-DNA interactions determined by crystallography. The data also yielded a detailed view of larger chromatin features including positioned nucleosomes flanking factor binding regions. Digital genomic footprinting should be a powerful approach to delineate the cis-regulatory framework of any organism with an available genome sequence.

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