Residence Time Analysis of RNA Polymerase Transcription Dynamics: A Bayesian Sticky HMM Approach
ABSTRACTThe time spent by a single RNA polymerase (RNAP) at specific locations along the DNA, termed "residence time", reports on the initiation, elongation and termination stages of transcription. At the single molecule level, this information can be obtained from dual ultra-stable optical trapping experiments, revealing a transcriptional elongation of RNAP interspersed with residence times of variable duration. Successfully discriminating between long and short residence times was used by
... ious approaches to learn about RNAP's transcription elongation dynamics. Here, we propose an approach based on the Bayesian sticky hidden Markov models that treats all residence times, for an E. Coli RNAP, on an equal footing without a priori discriminating between long and short residence times. In addition, our method has two additional advantages, we provide: full distributions around key point statistics; and directly treat the sequence-dependence of RNAP's elongation rate.By applying our approach to experimental data, we find: no emergent separation between long and short residence times warranted by the data; force dependent average residence time transcription elongation dynamics; limited effects of GreB on average backtracking durations and counts; and a slight drop in the average residence time as a function of applied force in RNaseA's presence.STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCEMuch of what we know about RNA Polymerase, and its associated transcription factors, relies on successfully discriminating between what are believed to be short and long residence times in the data. This is achieved by applying pause-detection algorithms to trace analysis. Here we propose a new method relying on Bayesian sticky hidden Markov models to interpret time traces provided by dual optical trapping experiments associated with transcription elongation of RNAP. Our method does not discriminate between short and long residence times from the offset in the analysis. It allows for DNA site-dependent transition probabilities of RNAP to neighboring sites (thereby accounting for chemical variability in site to site transitions) and does not demand any time trace pre-processing (such as denoising).