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Title: Conservation of Transcription Start Sites within Genes across a Bacterial Genus

Transcription start sites (TSSs) lying inside annotated genes, on the same or opposite strand, have been observed in diverse bacteria, but the function of these unexpected transcripts is unclear. Here, we use the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis MR-1 and its relatives to study the evolutionary conservation of unexpected TSSs. Using high-resolution tiling microarrays and 5'-end RNA sequencing, we identified 2,531 TSSs in S. oneidensis MR-1, of which 18% were located inside coding sequences (CDSs). Comparative transcriptome analysis with seven additional Shewanella species revealed that the majority (76%) of the TSSs within the upstream regions of annotated genes (gTSSs) were conserved. Thirty percent of the TSSs that were inside genes and on the sense strand (iTSSs) were also conserved. Sequence analysis around these iTSSs showed conserved promoter motifs, suggesting that many iTSS are under purifying selection. Furthermore, conserved iTSSs are enriched for regulatory motifs, suggesting that they are regulated, and they tend to eliminate polar effects, which confirms that they are functional. In contrast, the transcription of antisense TSSs located inside CDSs (aTSSs) was significantly less likely to be conserved (22%). However, aTSSs whose transcription was conserved often have conserved promoter motifs and drive the expression of nearby genes. Overall, ourmore » findings demonstrate that some internal TSSs are conserved and drive protein expression despite their unusual locations, but the majority are not conserved and may reflect noisy initiation of transcription rather than a biological function.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: mBio, 5(4):Article No. e01398-14
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
unannotated transcription; bacterial genus