Chromatin organization marks exon-intron structure

Schraga Schwartz, Eran Meshorer, Gil Ast

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An increasing body of evidence indicates that transcription and splicing are coupled, and it is accepted that chromatin organization regulates transcription. Little is known about the cross-talk between chromatin structure and exon-intron architecture. By analysis of genome-wide nucleosome-positioning data sets from humans, flies and worms, we found that exons show increased nucleosome-occupancy levels with respect to introns, a finding that we link to differential GC content and nucleosome-disfavoring elements between exons and introns. Analysis of genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation data in humans and mice revealed four specific post-translational histone modifications enriched in exons. Our findings indicate that previously described enrichment of H3K36me3 modifications in exons reflects a more fundamental phenomenon, namely increased nucleosome occupancy along exons. Our results suggest an RNA polymerase II-mediated cross-talk between chromatin structure and exon-intron architecture, implying that exon selection may be modulated by chromatin structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)990-995
Number of pages6
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2009


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