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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


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.