Exploring high-resolution chromatin interaction changes and functional enhancers of myogenic marker genes during myogenic differentiation

J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 2;298(8):102149. doi: 10.1016/j.jbc.2022.102149. Online ahead of print.


Skeletal muscle differentiation (myogenesis) is a complex and highly coordinated biological process regulated by a series of myogenic marker genes. Chromatin interactions between gene's promoters and their enhancers have an important role in transcriptional control. However, the high-resolution chromatin interactions of myogenic genes and their functional enhancers during myogenesis remain largely unclear. Here, we used circularized chromosome conformation capture coupled with next generation sequencing (4C-seq) to investigate eight myogenic marker genes in C2C12 myoblasts (C2C12-MBs) and C2C12 myotubes (C2C12-MTs). We revealed dynamic chromatin interactions of these marker genes during differentiation and identified 163 and 314 significant interaction sites (SISs) in C2C12-MBs and C2C12-MTs, respectively. The interacting genes of SISs in C2C12-MTs were mainly involved in muscle development, and histone modifications of the SISs changed during differentiation. Through functional genomic screening, we also identified 25 and 41 putative active enhancers in C2C12-MBs and C2C12-MTs, respectively. Using luciferase reporter assays for putative enhancers of Myog and Myh3, we identified eight activating enhancers. Furthermore, dCas9-KRAB epigenome editing and RNA-Seq revealed a role for Myog enhancers in the regulation of Myog expression and myogenic differentiation in the native genomic context. Taken together, this study lays the groundwork for understanding 3D chromatin interaction changes of myogenic genes during myogenesis and provides insights that contribute to our understanding of the role of enhancers in regulating myogenesis.

Keywords: 3D chromatin; 4C-seq; myogenesis; promoter–enhancer interaction; transcription regulation.