Spt6 is a highly conserved histone chaperone that interacts directly with both RNA polymerase II and histones to regulate gene expression. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the roles of Spt6, we performed genome-wide analyses of transcription, chromatin structure, and histone modifications in a Schizosaccharomyces pombe spt6 mutant. Our results demonstrate dramatic changes to transcription and chromatin structure in the mutant, including elevated antisense transcripts at >70% of all genes and general loss of the +1 nucleosome. Furthermore, Spt6 is required for marks associated with active transcription, including trimethylation of histone H3 on lysine 4, previously observed in humans but not Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and lysine 36. Taken together, our results indicate that Spt6 is critical for the accuracy of transcription and the integrity of chromatin, likely via its direct interactions with RNA polymerase II and histones.
Precise nucleosome-positioning patterns at promoters are thought to be crucial for faithful transcriptional regulation. However, the mechanisms by which these patterns are established, are dynamically maintained, and subsequently contribute to transcriptional control are poorly understood. The switch/sucrose non-fermentable chromatin remodeling complex, also known as the Brg1 associated factors complex, is a master developmental regulator and tumor suppressor capable of mobilizing nucleosomes in biochemical assays. However, its role in establishing the nucleosome landscape in vivo is unclear. Here we have inactivated Snf5 and Brg1, core subunits of the mammalian Swi/Snf complex, to evaluate their effects on chromatin structure and transcription levels genomewide. We find that inactivation of either subunit leads to disruptions of specific nucleosome patterning combined with a loss of overall nucleosome occupancy at a large number of promoters, regardless of their association with CpG islands. These rearrangements are accompanied by gene expression changes that promote cell proliferation. Collectively, these findings define a direct relationship between chromatin-remodeling complexes, chromatin structure, and transcriptional regulation.