Nucleosome positioning governs access to eukaryotic genomes. Many genes show a stereotypic organisation at their 5'end: a nucleosome free region just upstream of the transcription start site (TSS) followed by a regular nucleosomal array over the coding region. The determinants for this pattern are unclear, but nucleosome remodelers are likely critical. Here we study the role of remodelers in global nucleosome positioning in S. pombe and the corresponding changes in expression. We find a striking evolutionary shift in remodeler usage between budding and fission yeast. The S. pombe RSC complex does not seem to be involved in nucleosome positioning, despite its prominent role in S. cerevisiae. While S. pombe lacks ISWI-type remodelers, it has two CHD1-type ATPases, Hrp1 and Hrp3. We demonstrate nucleosome spacing activity for Hrp1 and Hrp3 in vitro, and that together they are essential for linking regular genic arrays to most TSSs in vivo. Impaired arrays in the absence of either or both remodelers may lead to increased cryptic antisense transcription, but overall gene expression levels are only mildly affected.
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