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Whilst the regulation of chromatin accessibility and its effect on gene expression have been well studied in eukaryotic species, the role of chromatin dynamics and 3D organisation in genome reduced bacteria remains poorly understood [1,2]. In this study we profiled the accessibility of the Mycoplasma hyorhinis genome, these data were collected fortuitously as part of an experiment where ATAC-Seq was conducted on mycoplasma, contaminated mammalian cells. We found a differential and highly reproducible chromatin accessibility landscape, with regions of increased accessibility corresponding to genes important for the bacteria's life cycle and infectivity. Furthermore, accessibility in general correlated with transcriptionally active genes as profiled by RNA-Seq, but peaks of high accessibility were also seen in non-coding and intergenic regions, which could contribute to the topological organisation of the genome. However, changes in transcription induced by starvation or application of the RNA polymerase inhibitor rifampicin did not themselves change the accessibility profile, which confirms that the differential accessibility is inherently a property of the genome, and not a consequence of its function. These results together show that differential chromatin accessibility is a key feature of the regulation of gene expression in bacteria.

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Accessibility, Chromatin, Mycoplasma, Transcription