Ultrastructural Details of Mammalian Chromosome Architecture

Mol Cell. 2020 May 7;78(3):554-565.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.03.003. Epub 2020 Mar 25.


Over the past decade, 3C-related methods have provided remarkable insights into chromosome folding in vivo. To overcome the limited resolution of prior studies, we extend a recently developed Hi-C variant, Micro-C, to map chromosome architecture at nucleosome resolution in human ESCs and fibroblasts. Micro-C robustly captures known features of chromosome folding including compartment organization, topologically associating domains, and interactions between CTCF binding sites. In addition, Micro-C provides a detailed map of nucleosome positions and localizes contact domain boundaries with nucleosomal precision. Compared to Hi-C, Micro-C exhibits an order of magnitude greater dynamic range, allowing the identification of ∼20,000 additional loops in each cell type. Many newly identified peaks are localized along extrusion stripes and form transitive grids, consistent with their anchors being pause sites impeding cohesin-dependent loop extrusion. Our analyses comprise the highest-resolution maps of chromosome folding in human cells to date, providing a valuable resource for studies of chromosome organization.

Keywords: CTCF; Chromatin; Chromosomes; Loop extrusion; Micro-C.