Chromosomal translocations are important drivers of haematological malignancies whereby proto-oncogenes are activated by juxtaposition with enhancers, often called enhancer hijacking We analyzed the epigenomic consequences of rearrangements between the super-enhancers of the immunoglobulin heavy locus (IGH) and proto-oncogene CCND1 that are common in B cell malignancies. By integrating BLUEPRINT epigenomic data with DNA breakpoint detection, we characterized the normal chromatin landscape of the human IGH locus and its dynamics after pathological genomic rearrangement. We detected an H3K4me3 broad domain (BD) within the IGH locus of healthy B cells that was absent in samples with IGH-CCND1 translocations. The appearance of H3K4me3-BD over CCND1 in the latter was associated with overexpression and extensive chromatin accessibility of its gene body. We observed similar cancer-specific H3K4me3-BDs associated with hijacking of super-enhancers of other common oncogenes in B cell (MAF, MYC, and FGFR3/NSD2) and T cell malignancies (LMO2, TLX3, and TAL1). Our analysis suggests that H3K4me3-BDs can be created by super-enhancers and supports the new concept of epigenomic translocation, in which the relocation of H3K4me3-BDs from cell identity genes to oncogenes accompanies the translocation of super-enhancers.
© 2022 Mikulasova et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.