Author(s): Yagil G
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Abstract BACKGROUND: DNA tracts composed of only two bases are possible in six combinations: A+G (purines, R), C+T (pyrimidines, Y), G+T (Keto, K), A+C (Imino, M), A+T (Weak, W) and G+C (Strong, S). It is long known that all-pyrimidine tracts, complemented by all-purines tracts ("R.Y tracts"), are excessively present in analyzed DNA. We have previously shown that R.Y tracts are in vast excess in yeast promoters, and brought evidence for their role in gene regulation. Here we report the systematic mapping of all six binary combinations on the level of complete sequenced chromosomes, as well as in their different subregions. RESULTS: DNA tracts composed of the above binary base combinations have been mapped in seven sequenced chromosomes: Human chromosomes 21 and 22 (the major contigs); Drosophila melanogaster chr. 2R; Caenorhabditis elegans chr. I; Arabidopsis thaliana chr. II; Saccharomyces cerevisiae chr. IV and M. jannaschii. A huge over-representation, reaching million-folds, has been found for very long tracts of all binary motifs except S, in each of the seven organisms. Long R.Y tracts are the most excessive, except in D. melanogaster, where the K.M motif predominates. S (G, C rich) tracts are in excess mainly in CpG islands; the W motif predominates in bacteria. Many excessively long W tracts are nevertheless found also in the archeon and in the eukaryotes. The survey of complete chromosomes enables us, for the first time, to map systematically the intergenic regions. In human and other chromosomes we find the highest over-representation of the binary DNA tracts in the intergenic regions. These over-representations are only partly explainable by the presence of interspersed elements. CONCLUSIONS: The over-representation of long DNA tracts composed of five of the above motifs is the largest deviation from randomness so far established for DNA, and this in a wide range of eukaryotic and archeal chromosomes. A propensity for ready DNA unwinding is proposed as the functional role, explaining the evolutionary conservation of the huge excesses observed.
This article was published in BMC Genomics
and referenced in Journal of Data Mining in Genomics & Proteomics