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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 May;40(10):4385-95. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks045. Epub 2012 Jan 28.

Chromatin domain boundary element search tool for Drosophila.

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Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Uppal Road, Hyderabad, 500007, India.


Chromatin domain boundary elements prevent inappropriate interaction between distant or closely spaced regulatory elements and restrict enhancers and silencers to correct target promoters. In spite of having such a general role and expected frequent occurrence genome wide, there is no DNA sequence analysis based tool to identify boundary elements. Here, we report chromatin domain Boundary Element Search Tool (cdBEST), to identify boundary elements. cdBEST uses known recognition sequences of boundary interacting proteins and looks for 'motif clusters'. Using cdBEST, we identified boundary sequences across 12 Drosophila species. Of the 4576 boundary sequences identified in Drosophila melanogaster genome, >170 sequences are repetitive in nature and have sequence homology to transposable elements. Analysis of such sequences across 12 Drosophila genomes showed that the occurrence of repetitive sequences in the context of boundaries is a common feature of drosophilids. We use a variety of genome organization criteria and also experimental test on a subset of the cdBEST boundaries in an enhancer-blocking assay and show that 80% of them indeed function as boundaries in vivo. These observations highlight the role of cdBEST in better understanding of chromatin domain boundaries in Drosophila and setting the stage for comparative analysis of boundaries across closely related species.

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