Determinants of transcription factor regulatory range
To characterize the genomic distances over which transcription factors (TFs) influence gene expression, we examined thousands of TF and histone modification ChIP-seq datasets and thousands of gene expression profiles. A model integrating these data revealed two classes of TF: one with short-range regulatory influence, the other with long-range regulatory influence. The two TF classes also had distinct chromatin-binding preferences and auto-regulatory properties. The regulatory range of a single TF bound within different topologically associating domains (TADs) depended on intrinsic TAD properties such as local gene density and G/C content, but also on the TAD chromatin state in specific cell types. Our results provide evidence that most TFs belong to one of these two functional classes, and that the regulatory range of long-range TFs is chromatin-state dependent. Thus, consideration of TF type, distance-to-target, and chromatin context is likely important in identifying TF regulatory targets and interpreting GWAS and eQTL SNPs.
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