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Widespread remodeling of mid-coding sequence nucleosomes by Isw1

Itay Tirosh1*, Nadejda Sigal12 and Naama Barkai1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Molecular genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science, Herzl street, Rehovot 76100, Israel

2 Current address: Department of Molecular Microbiology and Biotechnology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel-Aviv 69978, Israel

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Genome Biology 2010, 11:R49  doi:10.1186/gb-2010-11-5-r49

Published: 10 May 2010



The positions of nucleosomes along eukaryotic DNA are defined by the local DNA sequence and are further tuned by the activity of chromatin remodelers. While the genome-wide effect of most remodelers has not been described, recent studies in Saccharomyces cerevisiae have shown that Isw2 prevents ectopic expression of anti-sense and suppressed transcripts at gene ends.


We examined the genome-wide function of the Isw2 homologue, Isw1, by mapping nucleosome positioning in S. cerevisiae and Saccharomyces paradoxus strains deleted of ISW1. We found that Isw1 functions primarily within coding regions of genes, consistent with its putative role in transcription elongation. Upon deletion of ISW1, mid-coding nucleosomes were shifted upstream (towards the 5' ends) in about half of the genes. Isw1-dependent shifts were correlated with trimethylation of H3K79 and were enriched at genes with internal cryptic initiation sites.


Our results suggest a division of labor between Isw1 and Isw2, whereby Isw2 maintains repressive chromatin structure at gene ends while Isw1 has a similar function at mid-coding regions. The differential specificity of the two remodelers may be specified through interactions with particular histone marks.