Genome-wide mapping of chromatin interactions at high resolution remains experimentally and computationally challenging. Here we used a low-input "easy Hi-C" protocol to map the 3D genome architecture in human neurogenesis and brain tissues and also demonstrated that a rigorous Hi-C bias-correction pipeline (HiCorr) can significantly improve the sensitivity and robustness of Hi-C loop identification at sub-TAD level, especially the enhancer-promoter (E-P) interactions. We used HiCorr to compare the high-resolution maps of chromatin interactions from 10 tissue or cell types with a focus on neurogenesis and brain tissues. We found that dynamic chromatin loops are better hallmarks for cellular differentiation than compartment switching. HiCorr allowed direct observation of cell-type- and differentiation-specific E-P aggregates spanning large neighborhoods, suggesting a mechanism that stabilizes enhancer contacts during development. Interestingly, we concluded that Hi-C loop outperforms eQTL in explaining neurological GWAS results, revealing a unique value of high-resolution 3D genome maps in elucidating the disease etiology.
Keywords: GWAS; Hi-C; HiCorr; bias correction; chromatin loop; eHi-C; enhancer-promoter interaction; neurogenesis; transcription regulation.
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