Human promoters are intrinsically directional.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Divergent transcription, in which reverse-oriented transcripts occur upstream of eukaryotic promoters in regions devoid of annotated genes, has been suggested to be a general property of active promoters. Here we show that the human basal RNA polymerase II transcriptional machinery and core promoter are inherently unidirectional and that reverse-oriented transcripts originate from their own cognate reverse-directed core promoters. In vitro transcription analysis and mapping of nascent transcripts in HeLa cells revealed that sequences at reverse start sites are similar to those of their forward counterparts. The use of DNase I accessibility to define proximal promoter borders revealed that about half of promoters are unidirectional and that unidirectional promoters are depleted at their upstream edges of reverse core promoter sequences and their associated chromatin features. Divergent transcription is thus not an inherent property of the transcription process but rather the consequence of the presence of both forward- and reverse-directed core promoters.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Duttke, SHC; Lacadie, SA; Ibrahim, MM; Glass, CK; Corcoran, DL; Benner, C; Heinz, S; Kadonaga, JT; Ohler, U

Published Date

  • February 19, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 57 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 674 - 684

PubMed ID

  • 25639469

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4336624

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1097-4164

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.12.029


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States