Understanding the topological configurations of chromatin may reveal valuable insights into how the genome and epigenome act in concert to control cell fate during development. Here, we generate high-resolution architecture maps across seven genomic loci in embryonic stem cells and neural progenitor cells. We observe a hierarchy of 3D interactions that undergo marked reorganization at the submegabase scale during differentiation. Distinct combinations of CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), Mediator, and cohesin show widespread enrichment in chromatin interactions at different length scales. CTCF/cohesin anchor long-range constitutive interactions that might form the topological basis for invariant subdomains. Conversely, Mediator/cohesin bridge short-range enhancer-promoter interactions within and between larger subdomains. Knockdown of Smc1 or Med12 in embryonic stem cells results in disruption of spatial architecture and downregulation of genes found in cohesin-mediated interactions. We conclude that cell-type-specific chromatin organization occurs at the submegabase scale and that architectural proteins shape the genome in hierarchical length scales.
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