High-resolution TADs reveal DNA sequences underlying genome organization in flies

Nat Commun. 2018 Jan 15;9(1):189. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-02525-w.


Despite an abundance of new studies about topologically associating domains (TADs), the role of genetic information in TAD formation is still not fully understood. Here we use our software, HiCExplorer (hicexplorer.readthedocs.io) to annotate >2800 high-resolution (570 bp) TAD boundaries in Drosophila melanogaster. We identify eight DNA motifs enriched at boundaries, including a motif bound by the M1BP protein, and two new boundary motifs. In contrast to mammals, the CTCF motif is only enriched on a small fraction of boundaries flanking inactive chromatin while most active boundaries contain the motifs bound by the M1BP or Beaf-32 proteins. We demonstrate that boundaries can be accurately predicted using only the motif sequences at open chromatin sites. We propose that DNA sequence guides the genome architecture by allocation of boundary proteins in the genome. Finally, we present an interactive online database to access and explore the spatial organization of fly, mouse and human genomes, available at http://chorogenome.ie-freiburg.mpg.de .

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / genetics
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / metabolism
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / ultrastructure*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods*
  • Chromosomes, Insect / chemistry
  • Chromosomes, Insect / ultrastructure*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Databases, Genetic
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / ultrastructure
  • Eye Proteins / genetics
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Insect*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nucleotide Motifs
  • Software
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • BEAF-32 protein, Drosophila
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, Drosophila
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • M1BP protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors