Differentially accessible, single copy sequences form contiguous domains along metaphase chromosomes that are conserved among multiple tissues.
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BACKGROUND: During mitosis, chromatin engages in a dynamic cycle of condensation and decondensation. Condensation into distinct units to ensure high fidelity segregation is followed by rapid and reproducible decondensation to produce functional daughter cells. Factors contributing to the reproducibility of chromatin structure between cell generations are not well understood. We investigated local metaphase chromosome condensation along mitotic chromosomes within genomic intervals showing differential accessibility (DA) between homologs. DA was originally identified using short sequence-defined single copy (sc) DNA probes of < 5 kb in length by fluorescence in situ hybridization (scFISH) in peripheral lymphocytes. These structural differences between metaphase homologs are non-random, stable, and heritable epigenetic marks which have led to the proposed function of DA as a marker of chromatin memory. Here, we characterize the organization of DA intervals into chromosomal domains by identifying multiple DA loci in close proximity to each other and examine the conservation of DA between tissues.
RESULTS: We evaluated multiple adjacent scFISH probes at 6 different DA loci from chromosomal regions 2p23, 3p24, 12p12, 15q22, 15q24 and 20q13 within peripheral blood T-lymphocytes. DA was organized within domains that extend beyond the defined boundaries of individual scFISH probes. Based on hybridizations of 2 to 4 scFISH probes per domain, domains ranged in length from 16.0 kb to 129.6 kb. Transcriptionally inert chromosomal DA regions in T-lymphocytes also demonstrated conservation of DA in bone marrow and fibroblast cells.
CONCLUSIONS: We identified novel chromosomal regions with allelic differences in metaphase chromosome accessibility and demonstrated that these accessibility differences appear to be aggregated into contiguous domains extending beyond individual scFISH probes. These domains are encompassed by previously established topologically associated domain (TAD) boundaries. DA appears to be a conserved feature of human metaphase chromosomes across different stages of lymphocyte differentiation and germ cell origin, consistent with its proposed role in maintenance of intergenerational cellular chromosome memory.
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Citation of this paper:
Hill, S.L., Rogan, P.K., Wang, Y.X. and Knoll, J.H., 2021. Differentially accessible, single copy sequences form contiguous domains along metaphase chromosomes that are conserved among multiple tissues. Molecular Cytogenetics, 14(1), pp.1-17.