NYU Chemistry Professor Tamar Schlick and group members Gavin D. Bascom and Christopher G. Meyers reported their findings in an article entitled, "Mesoscale Modeling Reveals Formation of an Epigenetically Driven HOXC Gene Hub" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (click here to read the article). The report was followed by commentary about the the importance of this advance, also in PNAS, entitled "Inner Workings of Gene Folding" (click here to read the commentary.)
Significance: The precise role of epigenetic factors in controlling chromatin structure is not well understood. Here, we use publicly available data to build and “fold” a nucleosome-resolution mesoscale model of the developmentally regulated HOXC gene locus that incorporates histone tail acetylation, linker histone binding, and nucleosome occupancy. We discover a spontaneous contact hub that bridges promoters and exon/intron junctions. Our work emphasizes how epigenetic factors are coordinated to influence chromatin architecture and opens the way for nucleosome resolution modeling of epigenetically regulated genes.
This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and Phillip Morris.