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Long-range single-molecule mapping of chromatin accessibility in eukaryotes

By Zohar Shipony, Georgi K. Marinov, Matthew P Swaffer, Nasa A Sinott-Armstrong, Jan M. Skotheim, Anshul Kundaje, William J. Greenleaf

Posted 22 Dec 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/504662 (published DOI: 10.1038/s41592-019-0730-2)

Active regulatory elements in eukaryotes are typically characterized by an open, nucleosome depleted chromatin structure; mapping areas of open chromatin has accordingly emerged as a widely used tool in the arsenal of modern functional genomics. However, existing approaches for profiling chromatin accessibility are limited by their reliance on DNA fragmentation and short read sequencing, which leaves them unable to provide information about the state of chromatin on larger scales or reveal coordination between the chromatin state of individual distal regulatory elements. To address these limitations we have developed a method for profiling accessibility of individual chromatin molecules at multi-kilobase length scale (SMAC-seq, or Single-Molecule long-read Accessible Chromatin mapping sequencing assay), enabling the simultaneous, high resolution, single-molecule assessment of the chromatin state of distal genomic elements. Our strategy is based on combining the preferential methylation of open chromatin regions by DNA methyltransferases (CpG and GpC 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and N6-methyl adenosine (m6A) enzymes) and the ability of long-read single-molecule nanopore sequencing to directly read out the methylation state of individual DNA bases. Applying SMAC-seq to the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we demonstrate that aggregate SMAC-seq signals match bulk-level accessibility measurements, observe single-molecule protection footprints of nucleosomes and transcription factors, and quantify the correlation between the chromatin states of distal genomic elements.

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