Inter-chromosomal contact networks provide insights into Mammalian chromatin organization.
ABSTRACT: The recent advent of conformation capture techniques has provided unprecedented insights into the spatial organization of chromatin. We present a large-scale investigation of the inter-chromosomal segment and gene contact networks in embryonic stem cells of two mammalian organisms: humans and mice. Both interaction networks are characterized by a high degree of clustering of genome regions and the existence of hubs. Both genomes exhibit similar structural characteristics such as increased flexibility of certain Y chromosome regions and co-localization of centromere-proximal regions. Spatial proximity is correlated with the functional similarity of genes in both species. We also found a significant association between spatial proximity and the co-expression of genes in the human genome. The structural properties of chromatin are also species specific, including the presence of two highly interactive regions in mouse chromatin and an increased contact density on short, gene-rich human chromosomes, thereby indicating their central nuclear position. Trans-interacting segments are enriched in active marks in human and had no distinct feature profile in mouse. Thus, in contrast to interactions within individual chromosomes, the inter-chromosomal interactions in human and mouse embryonic stem cells do not appear to be conserved.
Project description:Understanding the structure of interphase chromosomes is essential to elucidate regulatory mechanisms of gene expression. During recent years, high-throughput DNA sequencing expanded the power of chromosome conformation capture (3C) methods that provide information about reciprocal spatial proximity of chromosomal loci. Since 2012, it is known that entire chromatin in interphase chromosomes is organized into regions with strongly increased frequency of internal contacts. These regions, with the average size of ?1 Mb, were named topological domains. More recent studies demonstrated presence of unconstrained supercoiling in interphase chromosomes. Using Brownian dynamics simulations, we show here that by including supercoiling into models of topological domains one can reproduce and thus provide possible explanations of several experimentally observed characteristics of interphase chromosomes, such as their complex contact maps.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Folding and intermingling of chromosomes has the potential of bringing close to each other loci that are very distant genomically or even on different chromosomes. On the other hand, genomic rearrangements also play a major role in the reorganisation of loci proximities. Whether the same loci are involved in both mechanisms has been studied in the case of somatic rearrangements, but never from an evolutionary standpoint. RESULTS: In this paper, we analysed the correlation between two datasets: (i) whole-genome chromatin contact data obtained in human cells using the Hi-C protocol; and (ii) a set of breakpoint regions resulting from evolutionary rearrangements which occurred since the split of the human and mouse lineages. Surprisingly, we found that two loci distant in the human genome but adjacent in the mouse genome are significantly more often observed in close proximity in the human nucleus than expected. Importantly, we show that this result holds for loci located on the same chromosome regardless of the genomic distance separating them, and the signal is stronger in gene-rich and open-chromatin regions. CONCLUSIONS: These findings strongly suggest that part of the 3D organisation of chromosomes may be conserved across very large evolutionary distances. To characterise this phenomenon, we propose to use the notion of spatial synteny which generalises the notion of genomic synteny to the 3D case.
Project description:Extensive changes in replication timing occur during early mouse development, but their biological significance remains uncertain. To identify evolutionarily conserved features of replication timing and their relationships to epigenetic properties in humans, we profiled replication timing genome-wide in four human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines, hESC-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs), lymphoblastoid cells, and two independently derived human induced pluripotent stem cell lines (hiPSCs). Results confirm the conservation of coordinately replicated megabase-sized units of chromosomes (replication domains) with stable cell type specific molecular boundaries that consolidate into larger replication domains during differentiation. Replication timing changes encompassed units of 400-800 kb and were coordinated with changes in transcription similar to mouse. Moreover, significant cell-type specific conservation of replication timing profiles was observed across regions of conserved synteny, despite significant species variation in the alignment of replication timing to isochore GC/LINE-1 content. Replication profiling also revealed a closer genome-wide epigenetic alignment of hESCs to mouse epiblast-derived stem cells (mEpiSCs) than to mouse ESCs. Finally, we identify a signature of chromatin modifications marking the boundaries of early replicating domains and a remarkably strong link between spatial proximity of chromatin as measured by Hi-C analysis and replication timing. Together, our results reveal evolutionarily conserved elements of the replication program in mammalian early development, demonstrate the power of replication profiling to identify important epigenetic distinctions between closely related stem cell populations (e.g. ESCs vs. EpiSCs), and strengthen the hypothesis that replication domains are structural and functional units of 3D chromosomal architecture. 8 cell types, with a total of 13 individual replicates (i.e. 5 in duplicates, 3 in single replicates)
Project description:During skeletal muscle differentiation, the activation of some tissue-specific genes occurs immediately while others are delayed. The molecular basis controlling temporal gene regulation is poorly understood. We show that the regulatory sequences, but not other regions of genes expressed at late times of myogenesis, are in close physical proximity in differentiating embryonic tissue and in differentiating culture cells, despite these genes being located on different chromosomes. Formation of these inter-chromosomal interactions requires the lineage-determinant MyoD and functional Brg1, the ATPase subunit of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes. Ectopic expression of myogenin and a specific Mef2 isoform induced myogenic differentiation without activating endogenous MyoD expression. Under these conditions, the regulatory sequences of late gene loci were not in close proximity, and these genes were prematurely activated. The data indicate that the spatial organization of late genes contributes to temporal regulation of myogenic transcription by restricting late gene expression during the early stages of myogenesis.
Project description:To identify evolutionarily conserved features of replication timing and their relationship to epigenetic properties, we profiled replication timing genome-wide in four human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines, hESC-derived neural precursor cells (NPCs), lymphoblastoid cells, and two human induced pluripotent stem cell lines (hiPSCs), and compared them with related mouse cell types. Results confirm the conservation of coordinately replicated megabase-sized "replication domains" punctuated by origin-suppressed regions. Differentiation-induced replication timing changes in both species occur in 400- to 800-kb units and are similarly coordinated with transcription changes. A surprising degree of cell-type-specific conservation in replication timing was observed across regions of conserved synteny, despite considerable species variation in the alignment of replication timing to isochore GC/LINE-1 content. Notably, hESC replication timing profiles were significantly more aligned to mouse epiblast-derived stem cells (mEpiSCs) than to mouse ESCs. Comparison with epigenetic marks revealed a signature of chromatin modifications at the boundaries of early replicating domains and a remarkably strong link between replication timing and spatial proximity of chromatin as measured by Hi-C analysis. Thus, early and late initiation of replication occurs in spatially separate nuclear compartments, but rarely within the intervening chromatin. Moreover, cell-type-specific conservation of the replication program implies conserved developmental changes in spatial organization of chromatin. Together, our results reveal evolutionarily conserved aspects of developmentally regulated replication programs in mammals, demonstrate the power of replication profiling to distinguish closely related cell types, and strongly support the hypothesis that replication timing domains are spatially compartmentalized structural and functional units of three-dimensional chromosomal architecture.
Project description:Although poorly positioned nucleosomes are ubiquitous in the eukaryotic genome, they are difficult to identify with existing nucleosome identification methods. Recently available enhanced high-throughput chromatin conformation capture techniques such as Micro-C, DNase Hi-C, and Hi-CO characterize nucleosome-level chromatin proximity, probing the positions of mono-nucleosomes and the spacing between nucleosome pairs at the same time, enabling nucleosome profiling in poorly positioned regions. Here we develop a novel computational approach, NucleoMap, to identify nucleosome positioning from ultra-high resolution chromatin contact maps. By integrating nucleosome read density, contact distances, and binding preferences, NucleoMap precisely locates nucleosomes in both prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes and outperforms existing nucleosome identification methods in both precision and recall. We rigorously characterize genome-wide association in eukaryotes between the spatial organization of mono-nucleosomes and their corresponding histone modifications, protein binding activities, and higher-order chromatin functions. We also find evidence of two tetra-nucleosome folding structures in human embryonic stem cells and analyze their association with multiple structural and functional regions. Based on the identified nucleosomes, nucleosome contact maps are constructed, reflecting the inter-nucleosome distances and preserving the contact distance profiles in original contact maps.
Project description:Determining the spatial organization of chromatin in cells mainly relies on crosslinking-based chromosome conformation capture techniques, but resolution and signal-to-noise ratio of these approaches is limited by interference from DNA-bound proteins. Here we introduce chemical-crosslinking assisted proximity capture (CAP-C), a method that uses multifunctional chemical crosslinkers with defined sizes to capture chromatin contacts. CAP-C generates chromatin contact maps at subkilobase (sub-kb) resolution with low background noise. We applied CAP-C to formaldehyde prefixed mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) and investigated loop domains (median size of 200 kb) and nonloop domains (median size of 9 kb). Transcription inhibition caused a greater loss of contacts in nonloop domains than loop domains. We uncovered conserved, transcription-state-dependent chromatin compartmentalization at high resolution that is shared from Drosophila to human, and a transcription-initiation-dependent nuclear subcompartment that brings multiple nonloop domains in close proximity. We also showed that CAP-C could be used to detect native chromatin conformation without formaldehyde prefixing.
Project description:The three-dimensional folding of chromosomes compartmentalizes the genome and and can bring distant functional elements, such as promoters and enhancers, into close spatial proximity (2-6). Deciphering the relationship between chromosome organization and genome activity will aid in understanding genomic processes, like transcription and replication. However, little is known about how chromosomes fold. Microscopy is unable to distinguish large numbers of loci simultaneously or at high resolution. To date, the detection of chromosomal interactions using chromosome conformation capture (3C) and its subsequent adaptations required the choice of a set of target loci, making genome-wide studies impossible (7-10). We developed Hi-C, an extension of 3C that is capable of identifying long range interactions in an unbiased, genome-wide fashion. In Hi-C, cells are fixed with formaldehyde, causing interacting loci to be bound to one another by means of covalent DNA-protein cross-links. When the DNA is subsequently fragmented with a restriction enzyme, these loci remain linked. A biotinylated residue is incorporated as the 5' overhangs are filled in. Next, blunt-end ligation is performed under dilute conditions that favor ligation events between cross-linked DNA fragments. This results in a genome-wide library of ligation products, corresponding to pairs of fragments that were originally in close proximity to each other in the nucleus. Each ligation product is marked with biotin at the site of the junction. The library is sheared, and the junctions are pulled-down with streptavidin beads. The purified junctions can subsequently be analyzed using a high-throughput sequencer, resulting in a catalog of interacting fragments. Direct analysis of the resulting contact matrix reveals numerous features of genomic organization, such as the presence of chromosome territories and the preferential association of small gene-rich chromosomes. Correlation analysis can be applied to the contact matrix, demonstrating that the human genome is segregated into two compartments: a less densely packed compartment containing open, accessible, and active chromatin and a more dense compartment containing closed, inaccessible, and inactive chromatin regions. Finally, ensemble analysis of the contact matrix, coupled with theoretical derivations and computational simulations, revealed that at the megabase scale Hi-C reveals features consistent with a fractal globule conformation.
Project description:Recent studies demonstrate that the organization of the chromatin within the nuclear space might play a crucial role in the regulation of gene expression. The ongoing progress in determination of the 3D structure of the nuclear chromatin allows one to study correlations between spatial proximity of genome domains and their epigenetic state. We combined the data on three-dimensional architecture of the whole human genome with results of high-throughput studies of the chromatin functional state and observed that fragments of different chromosomes that are spatially close tend to have similar patterns of histone modifications, methylation state, DNAse sensitivity, expression level, and chromatin states in general. Moreover, clustering of genome regions by spatial proximity produced compact clusters characterized by the high level of histone modifications and DNAse sensitivity and low methylation level, and loose clusters with the opposite characteristics. We also associated the spatial proximity data with previously detected chimeric transcripts and the results of RNA-seq experiments and observed that the frequency of formation of chimeric transcripts from fragments of two different chromosomes is higher among spatially proximal genome domains. A fair fraction of these chimeric transcripts seems to arise post-transcriptionally via trans-splicing.
Project description:A recent investigation showed the existence of correlations between the architectural features of mammalian interphase chromosomes and the compositional properties of isochores. This result prompted us to compare maps of the Topologically Associating Domains (TADs) and of the Lamina Associated Domains (LADs) with the corresponding isochore maps of mouse and human chromosomes. This approach revealed that: 1) TADs and LADs correspond to isochores, i.e., isochores are the genomic units that underlie chromatin domains; 2) the conservation of TADs and LADs in mammalian genomes is explained by the evolutionary conservation of isochores; 3) chromatin domains corresponding to GC-poor isochores (e.g., LADs) show not only self-interactions but also intrachromosomal interactions with other domains also corresponding to GC-poor isochores even if located far away; in contrast, chromatin domains corresponding to GC-rich isochores (e.g., TADs) show more localized chromosomal interactions, many of which are inter-chromosomal. In conclusion, this investigation establishes a link between DNA sequences and chromatin architecture, explains the evolutionary conservation of TADs and LADs and provides new information on the spatial distribution of GC-poor/gene-poor and GC-rich/gene-rich chromosomal regions in the interphase nucleus.