165 research outputs found

    Recent evidence that TADs and chromatin loops are dynamic structures.

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    Mammalian genomes are folded into spatial domains, which regulate gene expression by modulating enhancer-promoter contacts. Here, we review recent studies on the structure and function of Topologically Associating Domains (TADs) and chromatin loops. We discuss how loop extrusion models can explain TAD formation and evidence that TADs are formed by the ring-shaped protein complex, cohesin, and that TAD boundaries are established by the DNA-binding protein, CTCF. We discuss our recent genomic, biochemical and single-molecule imaging studies on CTCF and cohesin, which suggest that TADs and chromatin loops are dynamic structures. We highlight complementary polymer simulation studies and Hi-C studies employing acute depletion of CTCF and cohesin, which also support such a dynamic model. We discuss the limitations of each approach and conclude that in aggregate the available evidence argues against stable loops and supports a model where TADs are dynamic structures that continually form and break throughout the cell cycle

    Selective Activation of Alternative MYC Core Promoters by Wnt-Responsive Enhancers.

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    In Metazoans, transcription of most genes is driven by the use of multiple alternative promoters. Although the precise regulation of alternative promoters is important for proper gene expression, the mechanisms that mediates their differential utilization remains unclear. Here, we investigate how the two alternative promoters (P1, P2) that drive MYC expression are regulated. We find that P1 and P2 can be differentially regulated across cell-types and that their selective usage is largely mediated by distal regulatory sequences. Moreover, we show that in colon carcinoma cells, Wnt-responsive enhancers preferentially upregulate transcription from the P1 promoter using reporter assays and in the context of the endogenous Wnt induction. In addition, multiple enhancer deletions using CRISPR/Cas9 corroborate the regulatory specificity of P1. Finally, we show that preferential activation between Wnt-responsive enhancers and the P1 promoter is influenced by the distinct core promoter elements that are present in the MYC promoters. Taken together, our results provide new insight into how enhancers can specifically target alternative promoters and suggest that formation of these selective interactions could allow more precise combinatorial regulation of transcription initiation

    A dynamic mode of mitotic bookmarking by transcription factors.

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    During mitosis, transcription is shut off, chromatin condenses, and most transcription factors (TFs) are reported to be excluded from chromosomes. How do daughter cells re-establish the original transcription program? Recent discoveries that a select set of TFs remain bound on mitotic chromosomes suggest a potential mechanism for maintaining transcriptional programs through the cell cycle termed mitotic bookmarking. Here we report instead that many TFs remain associated with chromosomes in mouse embryonic stem cells, and that the exclusion previously described is largely a fixation artifact. In particular, most TFs we tested are significantly enriched on mitotic chromosomes. Studies with Sox2 reveal that this mitotic interaction is more dynamic than in interphase and is facilitated by both DNA binding and nuclear import. Furthermore, this dynamic mode results from lack of transcriptional activation rather than decreased accessibility of underlying DNA sequences in mitosis. The nature of the cross-linking artifact prompts careful re-examination of the role of TFs in mitotic bookmarking
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