DNA Sequence Correlations Shape Nonspecific Transcription Factor-DNA Binding Affinity

Itamar Sela, David B. Lukatsky
2011 Biophysical Journal  
Transcription factors (TFs) are regulatory proteins that bind DNA in promoter regions of the genome and either promote or repress gene expression. Here we predict analytically that enhanced homo-oligonucleotide sequence correlations, such as poly(dA:dT) and poly(dC:dG) tracts, statistically enhance non-specific TF-DNA binding affinity. This prediction is generic and qualitatively independent of microscopic parameters of the model. We show that non-specific TF binding affinity is universally
more » ... rolled by the strength and symmetry of DNA sequence correlations. We perform correlation analysis of the yeast genome and show that DNA regions highly occupied by TFs exhibit stronger homo-oligonucleotide sequence correlations, and thus higher propensity for non-specific binding, as compared with poorly occupied regions. We suggest that this effect plays the role of an effective localization potential enhancing the quasi-one-dimensional diffusion of TFs in the vicinity of DNA, speeding up the stochastic search process for specific TF binding sites. The predicted effect also imposes an upper bound on the size of TF-DNA binding motifs.
doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2011.04.037 pmid:21723826 pmcid:PMC3127192 fatcat:wa3ccoyu4zbtbd2yzggldhnhoe