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Glas, Julia; Dümcke, Sebastian; Zacher, Benedikt; Poron, Don; Gagneur, Julien; Tresch, Achim (2016): Simultaneous characterization of sense and antisense genomic processes by the double-stranded hidden Markov model. In: Nucleic Acids Research, Vol. 44, No. 5, e44
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Abstract

Hidden Markov models (HMMs) have been extensively used to dissect the genome into functionally distinct regions using data such as RNA expression or DNA binding measurements. It is a challenge to disentangle processes occurring on complementary strands of the same genomic region. We present the double-stranded HMM (dsHMM), a model for the strand-specific analysis of genomic processes. We applied dsHMM to yeast using strand specific transcription data, nucleosome data, and protein binding data for a set of 11 factors associated with the regulation of transcription. The resulting annotation recovers the mRNA transcription cycle (initiation, elongation, termination) while correctly predicting strand-specificity and directionality of the transcription process. We find that pre-initiation complex formation is an essentially undirected process, giving rise to a large number of bidirectional promoters and to pervasive antisense transcription. Notably, 12% of all transcriptionally active positions showed simultaneous activity on both strands. Furthermore, dsHMM reveals that antisense transcription is specifically suppressed by Nrd1, a yeast termination factor.