Michael McAlear, chair and associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, is the co-author of “The adjacent positioning of co-regulated gene pairs is widely conserved across eukaryotes,” published in BMC Genomics, October 2012. The article is online here.
The co-authors are Ph.D candidate James Arnone and Jeffrey Arace ’12; Adam Robbins-Pianka BA ’08, MA ’10; and Sara Kass-Gergi ’12.
The team investigated co-regulated gene sets in S. cerevisiae beyond those related to ribosome biogenesis, and found that a number of these regulons, including those involved in DNA metabolism, heat shock, and the response to cellular stressors were also significantly enriched for adjacent gene pairs. While it has long been understood that there are connections between genomic organization and transcriptional regulation, this study reveals that the strategy of organizing genes from related, co-regulated pathways into pairs of immediately adjacent genes is widespread, evolutionarily conserved, and functionally significant.