Multicellular organisms have evolved sophisticated mechanisms for responding to various developmental,environmental and physical stimuli by regulating transcription. The correlation of distribution of RNAPolymerase II (RNA Pol II) with transcription is well established in higher metazoans, however genome-wideinformation about its distribution in early metazoans, such as Hydra, is virtually absent. To gain insights intoRNA Pol II-mediated transcription and chromatin organization in Hydra, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation(ChIP)-coupled high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) for RNA Pol II and Histone H3. Strikingly,we found that Hydra RNA Pol II is uniformly distributed across the entire gene body, as opposed to itscounterparts in bilaterians such as human and mouse. Furthermore, correlation with transcriptome datarevealed that the levels of RNA Pol II correlate with the magnitude of gene expression. Strikingly, thecharacteristic peak of RNA Pol II pause typically observed in bilaterians at the transcription start sites (TSSs)was not observed in Hydra. The RNA Pol II traversing ratio in Hydra was found to be intermediate to yeastand bilaterians. The search for factors involved in RNA Pol II pause revealed that RNA Pol II pausingmachinery was most likely acquired first in Cnidaria. However, only a small subset of genes exhibited thepromoter proximal RNP Pol II pause. Interestingly, the nucleosome occupancy is highest over the subset ofpaused genes as compared to total Hydra genes, which is another indication of paused RNA Pol II at thesegenes. Thus, this study provides evidence for the molecular basis of RNA Pol II pause early during theevolution of multicellular organisms.
Volume 45, 2020
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