Nucleosomes affect local transformation efficiency
Genetic transformation is a natural process during which foreign DNA enters a cell and integrates into the genome. Apart from its relevance for horizontal gene transfer in nature, transformation is also the cornerstone of today's recombinant gene technology. Despite its importance, relatively little is known about the factors that determine transformation efficiency. We hypothesize that differences in DNA accessibility associated with nucleosome positioning may affect local transformation efficiency. We investigated the landscape of transformation efficiency at various positions in the Saccharomyces cerevisiae genome and correlated these measurements with nucleosome positioning. We find that transformation efficiency shows a highly significant inverse correlation with relative nucleosome density. This correlation was lost when the nucleosome pattern, but not the underlying sequence was changed. Together, our results demonstrate a novel role for nucleosomes and also allow researchers to predict transformation efficiency of a target region and select spots in the genome that are likely to yield higher transformation efficiency.