Compensation for differences in gene copy number among yeast ribosomal proteins is encoded within their promoters

Danny Zeevi, Eilon Sharon, Maya Lotan-Pompan, Yaniv Lubling, Zohar Shipony, - Sadka, Tali Raveh - Sadka, Leeat Keren, Michal Levo, Adina Weinberger, Eran Segal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Coordinate regulation of ribosomal protein (RP) genes is key for controlling cell growth. In yeast, it is unclear how this regulation achieves the required equimolar amounts of the different RP components, given that some RP genes exist in duplicate copies, while others have only one copy. Here, we tested whether the solution to this challenge is partly encoded within the DNA sequence of the RP promoters, by fusing 110 different RP promoters to a fluorescent gene reporter, allowing us to robustly detect differences in their promoter activities that are as small as similar to 10%. We found that single-copy RP promoters have significantly higher activities, suggesting that proper RP stoichiometry is indeed partly encoded within the RP promoters. Notably, we also partially uncovered how this regulation is encoded by finding that RP promoters with higher activity have more nucleosome-disfavoring sequences and characteristic spatial organizations of these sequences and of binding sites for key RP regulators. Mutations in these elements result in a significant decrease of RP promoter activity. Thus, our results suggest that intrinsic (DNA-dependent) nucleosome organization may be a key mechanism by which genomes encode biologically meaningful promoter activities. Our approach can readily be applied to uncover how transcriptional programs of other promoters are encoded.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2114-2128
Number of pages15
JournalGenome Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


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