An RNA Polymerase III General Transcription Factor Engages in Cell Type-Specific Chromatin Looping

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Feb 18;23(4):2260. doi: 10.3390/ijms23042260.


Transcription factors (TFs) bind DNA in a sequence-specific manner and are generally cell type-specific factors and/or developmental master regulators. In contrast, general TFs (GTFs) are part of very large protein complexes and serve for RNA polymerases' recruitment to promoter sequences, generally in a cell type-independent manner. Whereas, several TFs have been proven to serve as anchors for the 3D genome organization, the role of GTFs in genome architecture have not been carefully explored. Here, we used ChIP-seq and Hi-C data to depict the role of TFIIIC, one of the RNA polymerase III GTFs, in 3D genome organization. We find that TFIIIC genome occupancy mainly occurs at specific regions, which largely correspond to Alu elements; other characteristic classes of repetitive elements (REs) such as MIR, FLAM-C and ALR/alpha are also found depending on the cell's developmental origin. The analysis also shows that TFIIIC-enriched regions are involved in cell type-specific DNA looping, which does not depend on colocalization with the master architectural protein CTCF. This work extends previous knowledge on the role of TFIIIC as a bona fide genome organizer whose action participates in cell type-dependent 3D genome looping via binding to REs.

Keywords: 3D genome; TFIIIC; repetitive elements.

MeSH terms

  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation Sequencing / methods
  • DNA / genetics
  • Humans
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase III / genetics*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid / genetics
  • Transcription Factors, TFIII / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • Chromatin
  • Transcription Factors, TFIII
  • transcription factor TFIIIC
  • DNA
  • RNA Polymerase III