A gene’s position in the genome can profoundly affect its expression because regional differences in chromatin modulate the activity of locally acting cis-regulatory sequences (CRSs). Here we study how CRSs and regional chromatin act in concert on a genome-wide scale. We present a massively parallel reporter gene assay that measures the activities of hundreds of different CRSs, each integrated at many specific genomic locations. Although genome location strongly affected CRS activity, the relative strengths of CRSs were maintained at all chromosomal locations. The intrinsic activities of CRSs also correlated with their activities in plasmid-based assays. We explain our data with a quantitative model in which expression levels are set by independent contributions from local CRSs and the regional chromatin environment, rather than by more complex sequence-or protein-specific interactions between these two factors. The methods we present will help investigators determine when regulatory information is integrated in a modular fashion and when regulatory sequences interact in more complex ways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-99
Number of pages10
JournalNature Biotechnology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


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