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Super-resolution Imaging Reveals 3D Structure and Organizing Mechanism of Accessible Chromatin

By Liangqi Xie, Peng Dong, Yifeng Qi, Margherita De Marzio, Xingqi Chen, Sambashiva Banala, Wesley R Legant, Brian P. English, Anders S. Hansen, Anton Schulmann, Luke D. Lavis, Eric Betzig, Rafael Casellas, Howard Y. Chang, Bin Zhang, Robert Tjian, Zhe Liu

Posted 21 Jun 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/678649

Access to cis-regulatory elements packaged in chromatin is essential for directing gene expression and cell viability. Here, we report a super-resolution imaging strategy, 3D ATAC-PALM, that enables direct visualization of the entire accessible genome. We found that active chromosomal segments are organized into spatially-segregated accessible chromatin domains (ACDs). Rapid depletion of CTCF or Cohesin (RAD21 subunit) induced enhanced ACD clustering, reduced physical separation between intrachromosomal ACDs, and differentially regulated ACD compaction. Experimental perturbations and polymer modeling suggest that dynamic protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions within ACDs couple with loop extrusion to organize ACD topology. Dysorganization of ACDs upon CTCF or Cohesin loss alters transcription factor binding and target search dynamics in living cells. These results uncover fundamental mechanisms underpinning the formation of 3D genome architecture and its pivotal function in transcriptional regulation.

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