Reconstruction and Analysis of the Evolution of Modular Transcriptional Regulatory Programs Using Arboretum

Methods in Molecular Biology
Sara A KnaackSushmita Roy

Abstract

Comparative functional genomics aims to measure and compare genome-wide functional data such as transcriptomes, proteomes, and epigenomes across multiple species to study the conservation and divergence patterns of such quantitative measurements. However, computational methods to systematically compare these quantitative genomic profiles across multiple species are in their infancy. We developed Arboretum, a novel algorithm to identify modules of co-expressed genes and trace their evolutionary history across multiple species from a complex phylogeny. To interpret the results from Arboretum we developed several measures to examine the extent of conservation and divergence in modules and their relationship to species lifestyle, cis-regulatory elements, and gene duplication. We applied Arboretum to study the evolution of modular transcriptional regulatory programs controlling transcriptional response to different environmental stresses in the yeast Ascomycota phylogeny. We found that modules of similar patterns of expression captured the transcriptional responses to different stresses across species; however, the genes exhibiting these patterns were not the same. Divergence in module membership was associated with changes in lifes...Continue Reading

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