Transcription-induced supercoiling as the driving force of chromatin loop extrusion during formation of TADs in interphase chromosomes.
ABSTRACT: Using molecular dynamics simulations, we show here that growing plectonemes resulting from transcription-induced supercoiling have the ability to actively push cohesin rings along chromatin fibres. The pushing direction is such that within each topologically associating domain (TAD) cohesin rings forming handcuffs move from the source of supercoiling, constituted by RNA polymerase with associated DNA topoisomerase TOP1, towards borders of TADs, where supercoiling is released by topoisomerase TOPIIB. Cohesin handcuffs are pushed by continuous flux of supercoiling that is generated by transcription and is then progressively released by action of TOPIIB located at TADs borders. Our model explains what can be the driving force of chromatin loop extrusion and how it can be ensured that loops grow quickly and in a good direction. In addition, the supercoiling-driven loop extrusion mechanism is consistent with earlier explanations proposing why TADs flanked by convergent CTCF binding sites form more stable chromatin loops than TADs flanked by divergent CTCF binding sites. We discuss the role of supercoiling in stimulating enhancer promoter contacts and propose that transcription of eRNA sends the first wave of supercoiling that can activate mRNA transcription in a given TAD.
Project description:The genome folds into a hierarchy of three-dimensional structures within the nucleus. At the sub-megabase scale, chromosomes form topologically associating domains (TADs)<sup>1-4</sup>. However, how TADs fold in single cells is elusive. Here, we reveal TAD features inaccessible to cell population analysis by using super-resolution microscopy. TAD structures and physical insulation associated with their borders are variable between individual cells, yet chromatin intermingling is enriched within TADs compared to adjacent TADs in most cells. The spatial segregation of TADs is further exacerbated during cell differentiation. Favored interactions within TADs are regulated by cohesin and CTCF through distinct mechanisms: cohesin generates chromatin contacts and intermingling while CTCF prevents inter-TAD contacts. Furthermore, TADs are subdivided into discrete nanodomains, which persist in cells depleted of CTCF or cohesin, whereas disruption of nucleosome contacts alters their structural organization. Altogether, these results provide a physical basis for the folding of individual chromosomes at the nanoscale.
Project description:The genome is organized via CTCF-cohesin-binding sites, which partition chromosomes into 1-5?megabase (Mb) topologically associated domains (TADs), and further into smaller sub-domains (sub-TADs). Here we examined in vivo an ?80?kb sub-TAD, containing the mouse ?-globin gene cluster, lying within a ?1?Mb TAD. We find that the sub-TAD is flanked by predominantly convergent CTCF-cohesin sites that are ubiquitously bound by CTCF but only interact during erythropoiesis, defining a self-interacting erythroid compartment. Whereas the ?-globin regulatory elements normally act solely on promoters downstream of the enhancers, removal of a conserved upstream CTCF-cohesin boundary extends the sub-TAD to adjacent upstream CTCF-cohesin-binding sites. The ?-globin enhancers now interact with the flanking chromatin, upregulating expression of genes within this extended sub-TAD. Rather than acting solely as a barrier to chromatin modification, CTCF-cohesin boundaries in this sub-TAD delimit the region of chromatin to which enhancers have access and within which they interact with receptive promoters.
Project description:CTCF and cohesin are key drivers of 3D-nuclear organization, anchoring the megabase-scale Topologically Associating Domains (TADs) that segment the genome. Here, we present and validate a computational method to predict cohesin-and-CTCF binding sites that form intra-TAD DNA loops. The intra-TAD loop anchors identified are structurally indistinguishable from TAD anchors regarding binding partners, sequence conservation, and resistance to cohesin knockdown; further, the intra-TAD loops retain key functional features of TADs, including chromatin contact insulation, blockage of repressive histone mark spread, and ubiquity across tissues. We propose that intra-TAD loops form by the same loop extrusion mechanism as the larger TAD loops, and that their shorter length enables finer regulatory control in restricting enhancer-promoter interactions, which enables selective, high-level expression of gene targets of super-enhancers and genes located within repressive nuclear compartments. These findings elucidate the role of intra-TAD cohesin-and-CTCF binding in nuclear organization associated with widespread insulation of distal enhancer activity.
Project description:Mammalian chromatin is spatially organized at many scales showing two prominent features in interphase: (i) alternating regions (1-10 Mb) of active and inactive chromatin that spatially segregate into different compartments, and (ii) domains (<1 Mb), that is, regions that preferentially interact internally [topologically associating domains (TADs)] and are central to gene regulation. There is growing evidence that TADs are formed by active extrusion of chromatin loops by cohesin, whereas compartmentalization is established according to local chromatin states. Here, we use polymer simulations to examine how loop extrusion and compartmental segregation work collectively and potentially interfere in shaping global chromosome organization. A model with differential attraction between euchromatin and heterochromatin leads to phase separation and reproduces compartmentalization as observed in Hi-C. Loop extrusion, essential for TAD formation, in turn, interferes with compartmentalization. Our integrated model faithfully reproduces Hi-C data from puzzling experimental observations where altering loop extrusion also led to changes in compartmentalization. Specifically, depletion of chromatin-associated cohesin reduced TADs and revealed finer compartments, while increased processivity of cohesin strengthened large TADs and reduced compartmentalization; and depletion of the TAD boundary protein CTCF weakened TADs while leaving compartments unaffected. We reveal that these experimental perturbations are special cases of a general polymer phenomenon of active mixing by loop extrusion. Our results suggest that chromatin organization on the megabase scale emerges from competition of nonequilibrium active loop extrusion and epigenetically defined compartment structure.
Project description:Topologically associating domains (TADs) are fundamental structural and functional building blocks of human interphase chromosomes, yet the mechanisms of TAD formation remain unclear. Here, we propose that loop extrusion underlies TAD formation. In this process, cis-acting loop-extruding factors, likely cohesins, form progressively larger loops but stall at TAD boundaries due to interactions with boundary proteins, including CTCF. Using polymer simulations, we show that this model produces TADs and finer-scale features of Hi-C data. Each TAD emerges from multiple loops dynamically formed through extrusion, contrary to typical illustrations of single static loops. Loop extrusion both explains diverse experimental observations-including the preferential orientation of CTCF motifs, enrichments of architectural proteins at TAD boundaries, and boundary deletion experiments-and makes specific predictions for the depletion of CTCF versus cohesin. Finally, loop extrusion has potentially far-ranging consequences for processes such as enhancer-promoter interactions, orientation-specific chromosomal looping, and compaction of mitotic chromosomes.
Project description:CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) critically contributes to 3D chromatin organization by determining topologically associated domain (TAD) borders. Although CTCF primarily binds at TAD borders, there also exist putative CTCF-binding sites within TADs, which are spread throughout the genome by retrotransposition. However, the detailed mechanism responsible for masking the putative CTCF-binding sites remains largely elusive. Here, we show that the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeler, chromodomain helicase DNA-binding 4 (CHD4), regulates chromatin accessibility to conceal aberrant CTCF-binding sites embedded in H3K9me3-enriched heterochromatic B2 short interspersed nuclear elements (SINEs) in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). Upon CHD4 depletion, these aberrant CTCF-binding sites become accessible and aberrant CTCF recruitment occurs within TADs, resulting in disorganization of local TADs. RNA-binding intrinsically disordered domains (IDRs) of CHD4 are required to prevent this aberrant CTCF binding, and CHD4 is critical for the repression of B2 SINE transcripts. These results collectively reveal that a CHD4-mediated mechanism ensures appropriate CTCF binding and associated TAD organization in mESCs.
Project description:Current models propose that boundaries of mammalian topologically associating domains (TADs) arise from the ability of the CTCF protein to stop extrusion of chromatin loops by cohesin. While the orientation of CTCF motifs determines which pairs of CTCF sites preferentially stabilize loops, the molecular basis of this polarity remains unclear. By combining ChIP-seq and single molecule live imaging we report that CTCF positions cohesin, but does not control its overall binding dynamics on chromatin. Using an inducible complementation system, we find that CTCF mutants lacking the N-terminus cannot insulate TADs properly. Cohesin remains at CTCF sites in this mutant, albeit with reduced enrichment. Given the orientation of CTCF motifs presents the N-terminus towards cohesin as it translocates from the interior of TADs, these observations explain how the orientation of CTCF binding sites translates into genome folding patterns.
Project description:Mammalian genomes are spatially organized into compartments, topologically associating domains (TADs), and loops to facilitate gene regulation and other chromosomal functions. How compartments, TADs, and loops are generated is unknown. It has been proposed that cohesin forms TADs and loops by extruding chromatin loops until it encounters CTCF, but direct evidence for this hypothesis is missing. Here, we show that cohesin suppresses compartments but is required for TADs and loops, that CTCF defines their boundaries, and that the cohesin unloading factor WAPL and its PDS5 binding partners control the length of loops. In the absence of WAPL and PDS5 proteins, cohesin forms extended loops, presumably by passing CTCF sites, accumulates in axial chromosomal positions (vermicelli), and condenses chromosomes. Unexpectedly, PDS5 proteins are also required for boundary function. These results show that cohesin has an essential genome-wide function in mediating long-range chromatin interactions and support the hypothesis that cohesin creates these by loop extrusion, until it is delayed by CTCF in a manner dependent on PDS5 proteins, or until it is released from DNA by WAPL.
Project description:The spatial organization of chromatin is pivotal for regulating genome functions. We report an imaging method for tracing chromatin organization with kilobase- and nanometer-scale resolution, unveiling chromatin conformation across topologically associating domains (TADs) in thousands of individual cells. Our imaging data revealed TAD-like structures with globular conformation and sharp domain boundaries in single cells. The boundaries varied from cell to cell, occurring with nonzero probabilities at all genomic positions but preferentially at CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF)- and cohesin-binding sites. Notably, cohesin depletion, which abolished TADs at the population-average level, did not diminish TAD-like structures in single cells but eliminated preferential domain boundary positions. Moreover, we observed widespread, cooperative, multiway chromatin interactions, which remained after cohesin depletion. These results provide critical insight into the mechanisms underlying chromatin domain and hub formation.
Project description:Topologically associating domains (TADs) are fundamental elements of the eukaryotic genomic structure. However, recent studies suggest that the insulating complexes, CTCF/cohesin, present at TAD borders in mammals are absent from those in Drosophila melanogaster, raising the possibility that border elements are not conserved among metazoans. Using in situ Hi-C with sub-kb resolution, here we show that the D. melanogaster genome is almost completely partitioned into >4000 TADs, nearly sevenfold more than previously identified. The overwhelming majority of these TADs are demarcated by the insulator complexes, BEAF-32/CP190, or BEAF-32/Chromator, indicating that these proteins may play an analogous role in flies as that of CTCF/cohesin in mammals. Moreover, extended regions previously thought to be unstructured are shown to consist of small contiguous TADs, a property also observed in mammals upon re-examination. Altogether, our work demonstrates that fundamental features associated with the higher-order folding of the genome are conserved from insects to mammals.