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Regulatory elements can be essential for maintaining broad chromatin organization and cell viability

By Ying Liu, Bo Ding, Lina Zheng, Ping Xu, Zhiheng Liu, Zhao Chen, Peiyao Wu, Ying Zhao, Qian Pan, Yu Guo, Wei Wang, Wensheng Wei

Posted 13 Dec 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.13.422554

Increasing evidence shows that promoters and enhancers could be related to 3D chromatin structure, thus affecting cellular functions. Except for functioning through the canonical chromatin loops formed by promoters and enhancers, their roles in maintaining broad chromatin organization have not been well studied. Here, we focused on the active promoters/enhancers (referred to as hotspots) predicted to form many 3D contacts with other active promoters/enhancers, and identified dozens of loci critical for cell survival. While the essentiality of hotspots is not resulted from their association with essential genes, deletion of an essential hotspot could lead to change of broad chromatin organization and expressions of distal genes. We demonstrated that multiple affected genes that are individually non-essential could have synergistic effects to cause cell death.

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