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The completion of whole genome sequencing projects has provided the genetic instructions of life. However, whereas the identification of gene coding regions has progressed, the mapping of transcriptional regulatory motifs has moved more slowly. To understand how distinct expression profiles can be established and maintained, a greater understanding of these sequences and their trans-acting factors is required. Herein we have used a combined in silico and biochemical approach to identify binding sites [repressor element 1/neuron-restrictive silencer element (RE1/NRSE)] and potential target genes of RE1 silencing transcription factor/neuron-restrictive silencing factor (REST/NRSF) within the human, mouse, and Fugu rubripes genomes. We have used this genome-wide analysis to identify 1,892 human, 1,894 mouse, and 554 Fugu RE1/NRSEs and present their location and gene linkages in a searchable database. Furthermore, we identified an in vivo hierarchy in which distinct subsets of RE1/NRSEs interact with endogenous levels of REST/NRSF, whereas others function as bona fide transcriptional control elements only in the presence of elevated levels of REST/NRSF. These data show that individual RE1/NRSE sites interact differentially with REST/NRSF within a particular cell type. This combined bioinformatic and biochemical approach serves to illustrate the selective manner in which a transcription factor interacts with its potential binding sites and regulates target genes. In addition, this approach provides a unique whole-genome map for a given transcription factor-binding site implicated in establishing specific patterns of neuronal gene expression.

Original publication




Journal article


Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A

Publication Date





10458 - 10463


Animals, Base Sequence, Cells, Cultured, Chromatin, Gene Expression Regulation, Genome, Human, Genomics, Humans, Mice, Molecular Sequence Data, Precipitin Tests, Repressor Proteins, Takifugu, Transcription Factors, Transcriptional Activation