Nucleosomes in all eukaryotes examined to date adopt a characteristic architecture within genes and play fundamental roles in regulating transcription, yet the identity and precise roles of many of the trans-acting factors responsible for the establishment and maintenance of this organization remain to be identified. We profiled a compendium of 50 yeast strains carrying conditional alleles or complete deletions of genes involved in transcriptional regulation, histone biology, and chromatin remodeling, as well as compounds that target transcription and histone deacetylases, to assess their respective roles in nucleosome positioning and transcription. We find that nucleosome patterning in genes is affected by many factors, including the CAF-1 complex, Spt10, and Spt21, in addition to previously reported remodeler ATPases and histone chaperones. Disruption of these factors or reductions in histone levels led genic nucleosomes to assume positions more consistent with their intrinsic sequence preferences, with pronounced and specific shifts of the +1 nucleosome relative to the transcription start site. These shifts of +1 nucleosomes appear to have functional consequences, as several affected genes in Ino80 mutants exhibited altered expression responses. Our parallel expression profiling compendium revealed extensive transcription changes in intergenic and antisense regions, most of which occur in regions with altered nucleosome occupancy and positioning. We show that the nucleosome-excluding transcription factors Reb1, Abf1, Tbf1, and Rsc3 suppress cryptic transcripts at their target promoters, while a combined analysis of nucleosome and expression profiles identified 36 novel transcripts that are normally repressed by Tup1/Cyc8. Our data confirm and extend the roles of chromatin remodelers and chaperones as major determinants of genic nucleosome positioning, and these data provide a valuable resource for future studies.
The genome in eukaryotic cells is packaged into nucleosomes, which play critical roles in regulating where and when different genes are expressed. For example, nucleosomes can physically block access of transcription factor to sites on DNA or direct regulatory proteins to DNA. Consistent with these roles, nucleosomes assume a stereotypical pattern around genes: they are depleted at the promoter region that marks the start of genes and assume a regularly spaced array within genes. To identify factors involved in this organization, we generated high-resolution nucleosome and transcriptome maps for 50 loss-of-function mutants with known or suspected roles in nucleosome biology in budding yeast. We show that nucleosome organization is determined by the combined effects of many factors that often exert opposing forces on nucleosomes. We further demonstrate that specific nucleosomes can be positioned independently within genes and that repositioning of nucleosomes at the start of genes may affect expression of these genes in response to environmental stimuli. Data mining of this extensive resource allowed us to show that general transcription factors act as insulators at diverging promoters to prevent the formation of cryptic transcripts, and also revealed 36 novel transcripts regulated by the Tup1/Cyc8 complex.