A subset of topologically associating domains fold into mesoscale core-periphery networks

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TitleA subset of topologically associating domains fold into mesoscale core-periphery networks
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsHuang, H, Chen, ST, Titus, KR, Emerson, DJ, Bassett, DS, Phillips-Cremins, JE
JournalScientific reports

Mammalian genomes are folded into a hierarchy of compartments, topologically associating domains (TADs), subTADs, and long-range looping interactions. The higher-order folding patterns of chromatin contacts within TADs and how they localize to disease-associated single nucleotide variants (daSNVs) remains an open area of investigation. Here, we analyze high-resolution Hi-C data with graph theory to understand possible mesoscale network architecture within chromatin domains. We identify a subset of TADs exhibiting strong core-periphery mesoscale structure in embryonic stem cells, neural progenitor cells, and cortical neurons. Hyper-connected core nodes co-localize with genomic segments engaged in multiple looping interactions and enriched for occupancy of the architectural protein CCCTC binding protein (CTCF). CTCF knockdown and in silico deletion of CTCF-bound core nodes disrupts core-periphery structure, whereas in silico mutation of cell type-specific enhancer or gene nodes has a negligible effect. Importantly, neuropsychiatric daSNVs are significantly more likely to localize with TADs folded into core-periphery networks compared to domains devoid of such structure. Together, our results reveal that a subset of TADs encompasses looping interactions connected into a core-periphery mesoscale network. We hypothesize that daSNVs in the periphery of genome folding networks might preserve global nuclear architecture but cause local topological and functional disruptions contributing to human disease. By contrast, daSNVs co-localized with hyper-connected core nodes might cause severe topological and functional disruptions. Overall, these findings shed new light into the mesoscale network structure of fine scale genome folding within chromatin domains and its link to common genetic variants in human disease.