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BBB seminar: Boris Lenhard

Genomic regulatory blocks and conservation of synteny


Boris Lenhard
Bergen Center for Computational Science, University of Bergen, and Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology, Bergen

The largest chromosomal segments conserved across all vertebrates tend to be spanned by highly conserved noncoding elements (HCNEs), their developmental regulatory target genes, and phylogenetically and functionally unrelated "bystander" genes. Bystander genes are not specifically under the control of the regulatory elements that drive the target genes and are expressed in patterns that are different from those of the target genes. Reporter insertions distal to a number of zebrafish key developmental regulatory genes recapitulate the expression patterns of these genes even if located inside or beyond bystander genes, suggesting that the regulatory domain of a developmental regulatory gene can extend into and beyond adjacent transcriptional units. We termed these chromosomal segments genomic regulatory blocks (GRBs). GRBs explain the absence of evolutionary breakpoints from large vertebrate chromosomal segments, and their structure and evolutionary history permits target gene identification and HCNE/target gene assignment. I shall present and discuss evidence that GRBs are an ancient feature of metazoan genomes, which shaped the genome and have themselves been shaped by whole-genome duplications.

Host: Rein Aasland <aasland[@]mbi.uib.no>, Department of Molecular Biology