Quantitative classification of chromatin dynamics reveals regulators of intestinal stem cell differentiation

Development. 2020 Jan 3;147(1):dev181966. doi: 10.1242/dev.181966.


Intestinal stem cell (ISC) plasticity is thought to be regulated by broadly permissive chromatin shared between ISCs and their progeny. Here, we have used a Sox9EGFP reporter to examine chromatin across ISC differentiation. We find that open chromatin regions (OCRs) can be defined as broadly permissive or dynamic in a locus-specific manner, with dynamic OCRs found primarily in loci consistent with distal enhancers. By integrating gene expression with chromatin accessibility at transcription factor (TF) motifs in the context of Sox9EGFP populations, we classify broadly permissive and dynamic chromatin relative to TF usage. These analyses identify known and potential regulators of ISC differentiation via association with dynamic changes in chromatin. Consistent with computational predictions, Id3-null mice exhibit increased numbers of cells expressing the ISC-specific biomarker OLFM4. Finally, we examine the relationship between gene expression and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in Sox9EGFP populations, which reveals 5hmC enrichment in absorptive lineage-specific genes. Our data demonstrate that intestinal chromatin dynamics can be quantitatively defined in a locus-specific manner, identify novel potential regulators of ISC differentiation and provide a chromatin roadmap for further dissecting cis regulation of cell fate in the intestine.

Keywords: 5hmC; Chromatin; Differentiation; Id3; Intestinal stem cell.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation* / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA Methylation
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Intestines / cytology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Chromatin
  • SOX9 Transcription Factor
  • Sox9 protein, mouse