Abstract: Animal genomes are folded into loops and topologically associating domains (TADs) by CTCF and cohesin, but whether these loops are stable or dynamic is unknown. Here, we directly visualize chromatin looping at the Fbn2 TAD in mouse embryonic stem cells using super-resolution live-cell imaging and quantify looping dynamics by Bayesian inference. Our results are consistent with cohesin-mediated loop extrusion in cells, and with CTCF both stopping and stabilizing cohesin. Surprisingly, the Fbn2 loop is both rare and dynamic, with a looped fraction of ~3-6.5% and a median loop lifetime of ~10-30 minutes. Instead of a stable loop, our results establish a highly dynamic view of TADs and loops where the Fbn2 TAD exists predominantly in a partially extruded conformation. This dynamic and quantitative view of TADs may facilitate a mechanistic understanding of their functions.

Journal Link: 10.1101/2021.12.12.472242 Journal Link: Publisher Website Journal Link: Download PDF Journal Link: Google Scholar