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PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 Apr 1;6(4):e1000733. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1000733.

Genome-wide modeling of transcription preinitiation complex disassembly mechanisms using ChIP-chip data.

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Center for Eukaryotic Gene Regulation, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pennsylvania, United States of America.


Apparent occupancy levels of proteins bound to DNA in vivo can now be routinely measured on a genomic scale. A challenge in relating these occupancy levels to assembly mechanisms that are defined with biochemically isolated components lies in the veracity of assumptions made regarding the in vivo system. Assumptions regarding behavior of molecules in vivo can neither be proven true nor false, and thus is necessarily subjective. Nevertheless, within those confines, connecting in vivo protein-DNA interaction observations with defined biochemical mechanisms is an important step towards fully defining and understanding assembly/disassembly mechanisms in vivo. To this end, we have developed a computational program PathCom that models in vivo protein-DNA occupancy data as biochemical mechanisms under the assumption that occupancy levels can be related to binding duration and explicitly defined assembly/disassembly reactions. We exemplify the process with the assembly of the general transcription factors (TBP, TFIIB, TFIIE, TFIIF, TFIIH, and RNA polymerase II) at the genes of the budding yeast Saccharomyces. Within the assumption inherent in the system our modeling suggests that TBP occupancy at promoters is rather transient compared to other general factors, despite the importance of TBP in nucleating assembly of the preinitiation complex. PathCom is suitable for modeling any assembly/disassembly pathway, given that all the proteins (or species) come together to form a complex.

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