Defining the fine structure of promoter activity on a genome-wide scale with CISSECTOR.


Classic promoter mutagenesis strategies can be used to study how proximal promoter regions regulate the expression of particular genes of interest. This is a laborious process, in which the smallest sub-region of the promoter still capable of recapitulating expression in an ectopic setting is first identified, followed by targeted mutation of putative transcription factor binding sites. Massively parallel reporter assays such as survey of regulatory elements (SuRE) provide an alternative way to study millions of promoter fragments in parallel. Here we show how a generalized linear model (GLM) can be used to transform genome-scale SuRE data into a high-resolution genomic track that quantifies the contribution of local sequence to promoter activity. This coefficient track helps identify regulatory elements and can be used to predict promoter activity of any sub-region in the genome. It thus allows in silico dissection of any promoter in the human genome to be performed. We developed a web application, available at, that lets researchers easily perform this analysis as a starting point for their research into any promoter of interest.

More about this publication

Nucleic acids research
  • Volume 51
  • Issue nr. 11
  • Pages 5499-5511
  • Publication date 23-06-2023

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