Jpx RNA regulates CTCF anchor site selection and formation of chromosome loops

Cell. 2021 Dec 9;184(25):6157-6173.e24. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2021.11.012. Epub 2021 Dec 1.


Chromosome loops shift dynamically during development, homeostasis, and disease. CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is known to anchor loops and construct 3D genomes, but how anchor sites are selected is not yet understood. Here, we unveil Jpx RNA as a determinant of anchor selectivity. Jpx RNA targets thousands of genomic sites, preferentially binding promoters of active genes. Depleting Jpx RNA causes ectopic CTCF binding, massive shifts in chromosome looping, and downregulation of >700 Jpx target genes. Without Jpx, thousands of lost loops are replaced by de novo loops anchored by ectopic CTCF sites. Although Jpx controls CTCF binding on a genome-wide basis, it acts selectively at the subset of developmentally sensitive CTCF sites. Specifically, Jpx targets low-affinity CTCF motifs and displaces CTCF protein through competitive inhibition. We conclude that Jpx acts as a CTCF release factor and shapes the 3D genome by regulating anchor site usage.

Keywords: 3D genome; CTCF; CTCF release factor; CTCF site selection; Jpx RNA; chromatin loop; chromosome conformation; gene activation; loop anchors; noncoding RNA.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Embryonic Stem Cells
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • Ctcf protein, mouse
  • RNA, Long Noncoding