An analysis of the human chromosome 22 genomic sequence shows that both Z-DNA forming regions (ZDRs) and promoter sites for nuclear factor-I (NFI) are correlated with the locations of known and predicted genes across the chromosome and accumulate around the transcriptional start sites of the known genes. Thus, the occurrence of Z-DNA across human genomic sequences mirrors that of a known eukaryotic transcription factor. In addition, 43 of the 383 fully annotated chromosomal genes have ZDRs within 2 nucleosomes upstream of strong NFIs. This suggests a distinct class of human genes that may potentially be transcriptionally regulated by a mechanism that couples Z-DNA with NFI activation, similar to the mechanism previously elucidated for the human colony stimulation factor-I promoter [Liu et al. (2001) Cell, 106, 309–318]. The results from this study will facilitate the design of experimental studies to test the generality of this mechanism for other genes in the cell.
Previously published in Nucleic Acids Research, 2004, 32, pp. 6501-6510 http://nar.oxfordjournals.org/content/32/22/6501