SWI/SNF-dependent genes are defined by their chromatin landscape

Cell Rep. 2024 Mar 26;43(3):113855. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2024.113855. Epub 2024 Mar 1.


SWI/SNF complexes are evolutionarily conserved, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling machines. Here, we characterize the features of SWI/SNF-dependent genes using BRM014, an inhibitor of the ATPase activity of the complexes. We find that SWI/SNF activity is required to maintain chromatin accessibility and nucleosome occupancy for most enhancers but not for most promoters. SWI/SNF activity is needed for expression of genes with low to medium levels of expression that have promoters with (1) low chromatin accessibility, (2) low levels of active histone marks, (3) high H3K4me1/H3K4me3 ratio, (4) low nucleosomal phasing, and (5) enrichment in TATA-box motifs. These promoters are mostly occupied by the canonical Brahma-related gene 1/Brahma-associated factor (BAF) complex. These genes are surrounded by SWI/SNF-dependent enhancers and mainly encode signal transduction, developmental, and cell identity genes (with almost no housekeeping genes). Machine-learning models trained with different chromatin characteristics of promoters and their surrounding regulatory regions indicate that the chromatin landscape is a determinant for establishing SWI/SNF dependency.

Keywords: BRG1/SMARCA4; BRM/SMARCA2; CP: Molecular biology; PBAF; alternative TSS; alternative splicing; antisense transcription; cBAF; chromatin remodeling; nucleosome occupancy.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Chromatin* / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Transcription Factors* / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • Transcription Factors
  • Nucleosomes