Single-cell landscape of nuclear configuration and gene expression during stem cell differentiation and X inactivation.

   September 29th, 2021 at 3:40pm



BACKGROUND: Mammalian development is associated with extensive changes in gene expression, chromatin accessibility, and nuclear structure. Here, we follow such changes associated with mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation and X inactivation by integrating, for the first time, allele-specific data from these three modalities obtained by high-throughput single-cell RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and Hi-C. RESULTS: Allele-specific contact decay profiles obtained by single-cell Hi-C clearly show that the inactive X chromosome has a unique profile in differentiated cells that have undergone X inactivation. Loss of this inactive X-specific structure at mitosis is followed by its reappearance during the cell cycle, suggesting a "bookmark" mechanism. Differentiation of embryonic stem cells to follow the onset of X inactivation is associated with changes in contact decay profiles that occur in parallel on both the X chromosomes and autosomes. Single-cell RNA-seq and ATAC-seq show evidence of a delay in female versus male cells, due to the presence of two active X chromosomes at early stages of differentiation. The onset of the inactive X-specific structure in single cells occurs later than gene silencing, consistent with the idea that chromatin compaction is a late event of X inactivation. Single-cell Hi-C highlights evidence of discrete changes in nuclear structure characterized by the acquisition of very long-range contacts throughout the nucleus. Novel computational approaches allow for the effective alignment of single-cell gene expression, chromatin accessibility, and 3D chromosome structure. CONCLUSIONS: Based on trajectory analyses, three distinct nuclear structure states are detected reflecting discrete and profound simultaneous changes not only to the structure of the X chromosomes, but also to that of autosomes during differentiation. Our study reveals that long-range structural changes to chromosomes appear as discrete events, unlike progressive changes in gene expression and chromatin accessibility.


Bonora G  •  Ramani V  •  Singh R  •  Fang H  •  Jackson DL  •  Srivatsan S  •  Qiu R  •  Lee C  •  Trapnell C  •  Shendure J  •  Duan Z  •  Deng X  •  Noble WS  •  Disteche CM



Genome biology



September 27th, 2021

External References

4DN data sets from this publication have been deposited to GEO: GSE184554

Other data used in this publication: GSE84920