Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The "duon" delusion and why transcription factors MUST bind non-functionally to exon sequences

This post is about a paper recently published in Science (Dec. 13, 2013) by John Stamatoyannopoulos and his collaborators at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, USA.

Stergachis, A.B., Haugen, E., Shafer, A., Fu, W., Vernot, B., Reynolds, A., Raubitschek, A., Ziegler, S., LeProust, E.M., Akey, J.M. and Stamatoyannopoulos, J.A. (2013) Exonic Transcription Factor Binding Directs Codon Choice and Affects Protein Evolution. Science 342:1367-1372. [doi: 10.1126/science.1243490] [Abstract] [PDF]

Stamatoyannopoulos is one of the ENCODE workers. He recently gave a talk at the University of Toronto where he defended the idea that pervasive transcription and pervasive transcription factor binding are evidence of widespread function in the human genome. This paper looks at transcription factor binding sites in exon sequences (coding sequences) and finds lots of them. What this means is that stretches of coding region contain codons AND transcription factor binding sites (duh!).

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