Chromatin organization by an interplay of loop extrusion and compartmental segregation.
ABSTRACT: 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:<h4>Background</h4>Mechanisms underlying genome 3D organization and domain formation in the mammalian nucleus are not completely understood. Multiple processes such as transcriptional compartmentalization, DNA loop extrusion and interactions with the nuclear lamina dynamically act on chromatin at multiple levels. Here, we explore long-range interaction patterns between topologically associated domains (TADs) in several cell types.<h4>Results</h4>We find that TAD long-range interactions are connected to many key features of chromatin organization, including open and closed compartments, compaction and loop extrusion processes. Domains that form large TAD cliques tend to be repressive across cell types, when comparing gene expression, LINE/SINE repeat content and chromatin subcompartments. Further, TADs in large cliques are larger in genomic size, less dense and depleted of convergent CTCF motifs, in contrast to smaller and denser TADs formed by a loop extrusion process.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results shed light on the organizational principles that govern repressive and active domains in the human genome.
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:Three-dimensional chromatin structures undergo dynamic reorganization during mammalian spermatogenesis; however, their impacts on gene regulation remain unclear. Here, we focused on understanding the structure-function regulation of meiotic chromosomes by Hi-C and other omics techniques in mouse spermatogenesis across five stages. Beyond confirming recent reports regarding changes in compartmentalization and reorganization of topologically associating domains (TADs), we further demonstrated that chromatin loops are present prior to and after, but not at, the pachytene stage. By integrating Hi-C and RNA-seq data, we showed that the switching of A/B compartments between spermatogenic stages is tightly associated with meiosis-specific mRNAs and piRNAs expression. Moreover, our ATAC-seq data indicated that chromatin accessibility per se is not responsible for the TAD and loop diminishment at pachytene. Additionally, our ChIP-seq data demonstrated that CTCF and cohesin remain bound at TAD boundary regions throughout meiosis, suggesting that dynamic reorganization of TADs does not require CTCF and cohesin clearance.
Project description: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:<h4>Background</h4> Topologically associating domains (TADs) are important building blocks of three-dimensional genome architectures. The formation of TADs has been shown to depend on cohesin in a loop-extrusion mechanism. Recently, advances in an image-based spatial genomics technique known as chromatin tracing lead to the discovery of cohesin-independent TAD-like structures, also known as single-cell domains, which are highly variant self-interacting chromatin domains with boundaries that occasionally overlap with TAD boundaries but tend to differ among single cells and among single chromosome copies. Recent computational modeling studies suggest that epigenetic interactions may underlie the formation of the single-cell domains. <h4>Results</h4> Here we use chromatin tracing to visualize in female human cells the fine-scale chromatin folding of inactive and active X chromosomes, which are known to have distinct global epigenetic landscapes and distinct population-averaged TAD profiles, with inactive X chromosomes largely devoid of TADs and cohesin. We show that both inactive and active X chromosomes possess highly variant single-cell domains across the same genomic region despite the fact that only active X chromosomes show clear TAD structures at the population level. These X chromosome single-cell domains exist in distinct cell lines. Perturbations of major epigenetic components and transcription mostly do not affect the frequency or strength of the single-cell domains. Increased chromatin compaction of inactive X chromosomes occurs at a length scale above that of the single-cell domains. <h4>Conclusions</h4> In sum, this study suggests that single-cell domains are genome architecture building blocks independent of the tested major epigenetic components. <h4>Supplementary Information</h4> The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1186/s13059-021-02523-8.
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:Imaging and chromosome conformation capture studies have revealed several layers of chromosome organization, including segregation into megabase-sized active and inactive compartments, and partitioning into sub-megabase domains (TADs). It remains unclear, however, how these layers of organization form, interact with one another and influence genome function. Here we show that deletion of the cohesin-loading factor Nipbl in mouse liver leads to a marked reorganization of chromosomal folding. TADs and associated Hi-C peaks vanish globally, even in the absence of transcriptional changes. By contrast, compartmental segregation is preserved and even reinforced. Strikingly, the disappearance of TADs unmasks a finer compartment structure that accurately reflects the underlying epigenetic landscape. These observations demonstrate that the three-dimensional organization of the genome results from the interplay of two independent mechanisms: cohesin-independent segregation of the genome into fine-scale compartments, defined by chromatin state; and cohesin-dependent formation of TADs, possibly by loop extrusion, which helps to guide distant enhancers to their target genes.
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:Nuclear processes, such as V(D)J recombination, are orchestrated by the three-dimensional organization of chromosomes at multiple levels, including compartments<sup>1</sup> and topologically associated domains (TADs)<sup>2,3</sup> consisting of chromatin loops<sup>4</sup>. TADs are formed by chromatin-loop extrusion<sup>5-7</sup>, which depends on the loop-extrusion function of the ring-shaped cohesin complex<sup>8-12</sup>. Conversely, the cohesin-release factor Wapl<sup>13,14</sup> restricts loop extension<sup>10,15</sup>. The generation of a diverse antibody repertoire, providing humoral immunity to pathogens, requires the participation of all V genes in V(D)J recombination<sup>16</sup>, which depends on contraction of the 2.8-Mb-long immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) locus by Pax5<sup>17,18</sup>. However, how Pax5 controls Igh contraction in pro-B cells remains unknown. Here we demonstrate that locus contraction is caused by loop extrusion across the entire Igh locus. Notably, the expression of Wapl is repressed by Pax5 specifically in pro-B and pre-B cells, facilitating extended loop extrusion by increasing the residence time of cohesin on chromatin. Pax5 mediates the transcriptional repression of Wapl through a single Pax5-binding site by recruiting the polycomb repressive complex 2 to induce bivalent chromatin at the Wapl promoter. Reduced Wapl expression causes global alterations in the chromosome architecture, indicating that the potential to recombine all V genes entails structural changes of the entire genome in pro-B cells.
Project description:Chromosome folding is modulated as cells progress through the cell cycle. During mitosis, condensins fold chromosomes into helical loop arrays. In interphase, the cohesin complex generates loops and topologically associating domains (TADs), while a separate process of compartmentalization drives segregation of active and inactive chromatin. We used synchronized cell cultures to determine how the mitotic chromosome conformation transforms into the interphase state. Using high-throughput chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) analysis, chromatin binding assays and immunofluorescence, we show that, by telophase, condensin-mediated loops are lost and a transient folding intermediate is formed that is devoid of most loops. By cytokinesis, cohesin-mediated CTCF-CTCF loops and the positions of TADs emerge. Compartment boundaries are also established early, but long-range compartmentalization is a slow process and proceeds for hours after cells enter G1. Our results reveal the kinetics and order of events by which the interphase chromosome state is formed and identify telophase as a critical transition between condensin- and cohesin-driven chromosome folding.