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David Bray Successfully Defends His Thesis

Congratulations to David Bray on the successful defense of his thesis, "High-Throughput Approaches to Discover and Characterize Transcription Regulatory Complex Binding." Great job David!

To learn more about David's thesis, read his abstract below:


Gene regulation is controlled by DNA-bound complexes of transcription factors (TFs) and indirectly recruited transcriptional cofactors (COFs). Understanding how and where these TF-COF complexes bind in the genome is fundamental to our understanding of the role of cis-regulatory elements (CREs) in gene regulation and our mechanistic interpretation of non-coding variants (NCVs) known to impact gene expression levels. In this thesis, I present three related array-based techniques for the high-throughput profiling of DNA-bound TFs and TF-COF complexes directly from cell nuclear extracts.

First, I describe the nuclear extract protein-binding microarray (nextPBM) approach to profile TF-DNA binding using nuclear extracts to account for cell-specific post-translational modifications and cofactors. By analyzing cooperative binding of PU.1/SPI1 and IRF8 in monocytes, I demonstrate how nextPBM can be used to delineate DNA-sequence determinants of cell-specific cooperative TF complexes.

Second, I present the CASCADE (Comprehensive ASsessment of Complex Assembly at DNA Elements) approach to simultaneously discover DNA-bound TF-COF complexes and quantify the impact of NCVs on their binding. To demonstrate applicability of CASCADE to screen NCVs, I profile differential TF-COF binding to ~1,700 single-nucleotide polymorphisms in human macrophages and discover a prevalence of perturbed ETS-related TF-COF complexes at these quantitative trait loci.

Third, I present the human TF array (hTF array) as a general platform for surveying COF recruitment to an expansive panel of 346 non-redundant consensus TF binding sites (TFBSs). Using the hTF array, one can examine the activity of a diverse panel of TFs by profiling TF-COF complexes in a cell state-specific manner. To accompany the hTF array, I have developed analysis and visualization software that allows users to explore COF recruitment profiling results interactively.

Collectively, nextPBM, CASCADE, and the hTF array represent a suite of new approaches to investigate TF-COF complex binding and their application will refine our understanding of CREs by linking NCVs with the biophysical complexes that mediate gene regulatory functions.

Major Professors: Trevor Siggers 


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