The structure and dynamics of the eukaryotic genome are intimately linked to gene regulation and transcriptional activity. Many chromosome conformation capture experiments like Hi-C have been developed to detect genome-wide contact frequencies and quantify loop/compartment structures for different cellular contexts and time-dependent processes. However, a full understanding of these events requires explicit descriptions of representative chromatin and chromosome configurations. With the exponentially growing amount of data from Hi-C experiments, many methods for deriving 3D structures from contact frequency data have been developed. Yet, most reconstruction methods use polymer models with low resolution to predict overall genome structure. Here we present a Brownian Dynamics (BD) approach termed Hi-BDiSCO for producing 3D genome structures from Hi-C and Micro-C data using our mesoscale-resolution chromatin model based on the Discrete Surface Charge Optimization (DiSCO) model. Our approach integrates reconstruction with chromatin simulations at nucleosome resolution with appropriate biophysical parameters. Following a description of our protocol, we present applications to the NXN, HOXC, HOXA and Fbn2 mouse genes ranging in size from 50 to 100 kb. Such nucleosome-resolution genome structures pave the way for pursuing many biomedical applications related to the epigenomic regulation of chromatin and control of human disease.
The arrangement of nucleosomes inside chromatin is of extensive interest. While in vitro experiments have revealed the formation of 30 nm fibers, most in vivo studies have failed to confirm their presence in cell nuclei. To reconcile the diverging experimental findings, we characterized chromatin organization using a residue-level coarse-grained model. The computed force–extension curve matches well with measurements from single-molecule experiments. Notably, we found that a dodeca-nucleosome in the two-helix zigzag conformation breaks into structures with nucleosome clutches and a mix of trimers and tetramers under tension. Such unfolded configurations can also be stabilized through trans interactions with other chromatin chains. Our study suggests that unfolding from chromatin fibers could contribute to the irregularity of in vivo chromatin configurations. We further revealed that chromatin segments with fibril or clutch structures engaged in distinct binding modes and discussed the implications of these inter-chain interactions for a potential sol–gel phase transition.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
- NSF-PAR ID:
- Publisher / Repository:
- Oxford University Press
- Date Published:
- Journal Name:
- Nucleic Acids Research
- Page Range / eLocation ID:
- p. 9738-9747
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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