Cis-regulatory properties of medaka synexpression groups
Authors: Ramialison M, Reinhardt R, Henrich T, Wittbrodt B, Kellner T, Lowy CM, Wittbrodt J
CellNetworks People: Wittbrodt Joachim
Journal: Development. 2012 Mar;139(5):917-28. doi: 10.1242/dev.071803

During embryogenesis, tissue specification is triggered by the expression of a unique combination of developmental genes and their expression in time and space is crucial for successful development. Synexpression groups are batteries of spatiotemporally co-expressed genes that act in shared biological processes through their coordinated expression. Although several synexpression groups have been described in numerous vertebrate species, the regulatory mechanisms that orchestrate their common complex expression pattern remain to be elucidated. Here we performed a pilot screen on 560 genes of the vertebrate model system medaka (Oryzias latipes) to systematically identify synexpression groups and investigate their regulatory properties by searching for common regulatory cues. We find that synexpression groups share DNA motifs that are arranged in various combinations into cis-regulatory modules that drive co-expression. In contrast to previous assumptions that these genes are located randomly in the genome, we discovered that genes belonging to the same synexpression group frequently occur in synexpression clusters in the genome. This work presents a first repertoire of synexpression group common signatures, a resource that will contribute to deciphering developmental gene regulatory networks.