Nucleosome-Depleted Regions in Cell-Cycle-Regulated Promoters Ensure Reliable Gene Expression in Every Cell Cycle

Lu Bai, Gilles Charvin, Eric D. Siggia, Frederick R. Cross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Many promoters in eukaryotes have nucleosome-depleted regions (NDRs) containing transcription factor binding sites. However, the functional significance of NDRs is not well understood. Here, we examine NDR function in two cell cycle-regulated promoters, CLN2pr and HOpr, by varying nucleosomal coverage of the binding sites of their activator, Swi4/Swi6 cell-cycle box (SCB)-binding factor (SBF), and probing the corresponding transcriptional activity in individual cells with time-lapse microscopy. Nucleosome-embedded SCBs do not significantly alter peak expression levels. Instead, they induce bimodal, " on/off" activation in individual cell cycles, which displays short-term memory, or epigenetic inheritance, from the mother cycle. In striking contrast, the same SCBs localized in NDR lead to highly reliable activation, once in every cell cycle. We further demonstrate that the high variability in Cln2p expression induced by the nucleosomal SCBs reduces cell fitness. Therefore, we propose that the NDR function in limiting stochasticity in gene expression promotes the ubiquity and conservation of promoter NDR. PaperClip:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-555
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Nucleosome-Depleted Regions in Cell-Cycle-Regulated Promoters Ensure Reliable Gene Expression in Every Cell Cycle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this