The transcription factor Msn2 mediates a significant proportion of the environmental stress response, in which a common cohort of genes changes expression in a stereotypic fashion upon exposure to any of a wide variety of stresses. We have applied genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and nucleosome profiling to determine where Msn2 binds under stressful conditions and how that binding affects, and is affected by, nucleosome positioning. We concurrently determined the effect of Msn2 activity on gene expression following stress and demonstrated that Msn2 stimulates both activation and repression. We found that some genes responded to both intermittent and continuous Msn2 nuclear occupancy while others responded only to continuous occupancy. Finally, these studies document a dynamic interplay between nucleosomes and Msn2 such that nucleosomes can restrict access of Msn2 to its canonical binding sites while Msn2 can promote reposition, expulsion and recruitment of nucleosomes to alter gene expression. This interplay may allow the cell to discriminate between different types of stress signaling.
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