Coevolution within a transcriptional network by compensatory trans and cis mutations

D. Kuo, K. Licon, S. Bandyopadhyay, R. Chuang, C. LUO, J. Catalana, Timothy Ravasi, K. Tan, T. Ideker

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59 Scopus citations


Transcriptional networks have been shown to evolve very rapidly, prompting questions as to how such changes arise and are tolerated. Recent comparisons of transcriptional networks across species have implicated variations in the cis-acting DNA sequences near genes as the main cause of divergence. What is less clear is how these changes interact with trans-acting changes occurring elsewhere in the genetic circuit. Here, we report the discovery of a system of compensatory trans and cis mutations in the yeast AP-1 transcriptional network that allows for conserved transcriptional regulation despite continued genetic change. We pinpoint a single species, the fungal pathogen Candida glabrata, in which a trans mutation has occurred very recently in a single AP-1 family member, distinguishing it from its Saccharomyces ortholog. Comparison of chromatin immunoprecipitation profiles between Candida and Saccharomyces shows that, despite their different DNA-binding domains, the AP-1 orthologs regulate a conserved block of genes. This conservation is enabled by concomitant changes in the cis-regulatory motifs upstream of each gene. Thus, both trans and cis mutations have perturbed the yeast AP-1 regulatory system in such a way as to compensate for one another. This demonstrates an example of “coevolution” between a DNA-binding transcription factor and its cis-regulatory site, reminiscent of the coevolution of protein binding partners.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1672-1678
Number of pages7
JournalGenome Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Oct 26 2010

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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