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Topoisomerase activity is linked to altered nucleosome positioning and transcriptional regulation in the fission yeast fbp1 gene.


Chromatin structure, including nucleosome positioning, has a fundamental role in transcriptional regulation through influencing protein-DNA interactions. DNA topology is known to influence chromatin structure, and in doing so, can also alter transcription. However, detailed mechanism(s) linking transcriptional regulation events to chromatin structure that is regulated by changes in DNA topology remain to be well defined. Here we demonstrate that nucleosome positioning and transcriptional output from the fission yeast fbp1 and prp3 genes are altered by excess topoisomerase activity. Given that lncRNAs (long noncoding RNAs) are transcribed from the fbp1 upstream region and are important for fbp1 gene expression, we hypothesized that local changes in DNA topological state caused by topoisomerase activity could alter lncRNA and fbp1 transcription. In support of this, we found that topoisomerase overexpression caused destabilization of positioned nucleosomes within the fbp1 promoter region, which was accompanied by aberrant fbp1 transcription. Similarly, the direct recruitment of topoisomerase, but not a catalytically inactive form, to the promoter region of fbp1 caused local changes in nucleosome positioning that was also accompanied by altered fbp1 transcription. These data indicate that changes in DNA topological state induced by topoisomerase activity could lead to altered fbp1 transcription through modulating nucleosome positioning.

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