Assessing the Influence of Adjacent Gene Orientation on the Evolution of Gene Upstream Regions in Arabidopsis thaliana

F He, W.-H. Chen, Sinead Collins, Claudia Acquisti, Ulrike Goebel, Sebastian Onsins-Ramos, Martin Lercher, Juliette de Meaux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The orientation of flanking genes may influence the evolution of intergenic regions in which cis-regulatory elements are likely to be located: divergently transcribed genes share their 5′ regions, resulting either in smaller “private” spaces or in overlapping regulatory elements. Thus, upstream sequences of divergently transcribed genes (bi-directional upstream regions, or URs) may be more constrained than those of uni-directional gene pairs. We investigated this effect by analyzing nucleotide variation segregating within and between Arabidopsis species. Compared to uni-directional URs, bi-directional URs indeed display lower population mutation rate, as well as more low-frequency polymorphisms. Furthermore, we find that bi-directional regions undergo selection for the maintenance of intergenic distance. Altogether, however, we observe considerable variation in evolutionary rates, with putative signatures of selection on two uni-directional upstream regions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)695-701
JournalGenetics
Volume185
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • cis-regulatory
  • gene expression
  • arabidopsis

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