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Genome architecture shapes ancestral transcriptional regulation by DNA supercoiling

Genome architecture shapes ancestral transcriptional regulation by DNA supercoiling 

 

Sam Meyer, MAB 

 

While classical models of transcriptional regulation focus on promoter-specific transcription factors, DNA supercoiling affects transcription in a global manner and in a wide range of organisms. In bacteria, it plays an important role in quickly adapting their expression programme to environmental changes. It can therefore be considered as an ancestral regulator of gene expression, for which regulatory models are still lacking. In this seminar, I will present a model of transcriptional regulation based on an ancestral coupling between DNA supercoiling and the activity of RNA Polymerase, independent of promoter-specific regulatory proteins. The propagation of supercoils along kilobase distances underpins a dynamical interaction between adjacent genes, depending on their relative orientation. We will demonstrate the widespread relevance of this fundamental mechanism in the regulation and evolution of bacterial genomes, and discuss how the same coupling affects eukaryotic organisms.

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