Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Mikhail Spivakov

Research Summary

Cells in the body share their genetic code, but look and function differently. This is largely because many genes are only active in specific cell types and under certain environmental conditions.

Gene regulation converges at DNA regulatory modules – molecular "switches" that are encoded on the DNA alongside protein-coding genes. These modules recruit combinations of proteins and establish three-dimensional interactions required for gene activity or repression.

In contrast to the striking simplicity of the genetic code at protein-coding regions, the logic underlying the organisation of DNA regulatory modules still remains to be fully understood.

It is important to learn more about it, particularly because we now know that many healthy and pathological traits are associated with genetic variation at regulatory (rather than protein-coding) regions.

Latest Publications

Dynamic Rewiring of Promoter-Anchored Chromatin Loops during Adipocyte Differentiation.
Siersbæk R, Madsen JGS, Javierre BM, Nielsen R, Bagge EK, Cairns J, Wingett SW, Traynor S, Spivakov M, Fraser P, Mandrup S

Interactions between transcriptional promoters and their distal regulatory elements play an important role in transcriptional regulation; however, the extent to which these interactions are subject to rapid modulations in response to signals is unknown. Here, we use promoter capture Hi-C to demonstrate a rapid reorganization of promoter-anchored chromatin loops within 4 hr after inducing differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. The establishment of new promoter-enhancer loops is tightly coupled to activation of poised (histone H3 lysine 4 mono- and dimethylated) enhancers, as evidenced by the acquisition of histone H3 lysine 27 acetylation and the binding of MED1, SMC1, and P300 proteins to these regions, as well as to activation of target genes. Intriguingly, formation of loops connecting activated enhancers and promoters is also associated with extensive recruitment of corepressors such as NCoR and HDACs, indicating that this class of coregulators may play a previously unrecognized role during enhancer activation.

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Molecular cell, 66, 1097-4164, 420-435.e5, 2017

PMID: 28475875

Global reorganisation of cis-regulatory units upon lineage commitment of human embryonic stem cells.
Freire-Pritchett P, Schoenfelder S, Várnai C, Wingett SW, Cairns J, Collier AJ, García-Vílchez R, Furlan-Magaril M, Osborne CS, Fraser PJ, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Spivakov M

Long-range cis-regulatory elements such as enhancers coordinate cell-specific transcriptional programmes by engaging in DNA looping interactions with target promoters. Deciphering the interplay between the promoter connectivity and activity of cis-regulatory elements during lineage commitment is crucial for understanding developmental transcriptional control. Here, we use Promoter Capture Hi-C to generate a high-resolution atlas of chromosomal interactions involving ~22,000 gene promoters in human pluripotent and lineage-committed cells, identifying putative target genes for known and predicted enhancer elements. We reveal extensive dynamics of cis-regulatory contacts upon lineage commitment, including the acquisition and loss of promoter interactions. This spatial rewiring occurs preferentially with predicted changes in the activity of cis-regulatory elements, and is associated with changes in target gene expression. Our results provide a global and integrated view of promoter interactome dynamics during lineage commitment of human pluripotent cells.

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eLife, 6, 2050-084X, , 2017

PMID: 28332981

Lineage-Specific Genome Architecture Links Enhancers and Non-coding Disease Variants to Target Gene Promoters.
Javierre BM, Burren OS, Wilder SP, Kreuzhuber R, Hill SM, Sewitz S, Cairns J, Wingett SW, Várnai C, Thiecke MJ, Burden F, Farrow S, Cutler AJ, Rehnström K, Downes K, Grassi L, Kostadima M, Freire-Pritchett P, Wang F, , Stunnenberg HG, Todd JA, Zerbino DR, Stegle O, Ouwehand WH, Frontini M, Wallace C, Spivakov M, Fraser P

Long-range interactions between regulatory elements and gene promoters play key roles in transcriptional regulation. The vast majority of interactions are uncharted, constituting a major missing link in understanding genome control. Here, we use promoter capture Hi-C to identify interacting regions of 31,253 promoters in 17 human primary hematopoietic cell types. We show that promoter interactions are highly cell type specific and enriched for links between active promoters and epigenetically marked enhancers. Promoter interactomes reflect lineage relationships of the hematopoietic tree, consistent with dynamic remodeling of nuclear architecture during differentiation. Interacting regions are enriched in genetic variants linked with altered expression of genes they contact, highlighting their functional role. We exploit this rich resource to connect non-coding disease variants to putative target promoters, prioritizing thousands of disease-candidate genes and implicating disease pathways. Our results demonstrate the power of primary cell promoter interactomes to reveal insights into genomic regulatory mechanisms underlying common diseases.

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Cell, 167, 1097-4172, 1369-1384.e19, 2016

PMID: 27863249

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Keywords

computational biology
gene regulation
genomics
regulatory dna sequence

Group Members

Latest Publications

Dynamic Rewiring of Promoter-Anchored Chromatin Loops during Adipocyte Differentiation.

Siersbæk R, Madsen JGS, Javierre BM

Molecular cell
66 1097-4164:420-435.e5 (2017)

PMID: 28475875

Global reorganisation of cis-regulatory units upon lineage commitment of human embryonic stem cells.

Freire-Pritchett P, Schoenfelder S, Várnai C

eLife
6 2050-084X: (2017)

PMID: 28332981

Lineage-Specific Genome Architecture Links Enhancers and Non-coding Disease Variants to Target Gene Promoters.

Javierre BM, Burren OS, Wilder SP

Cell
167 1097-4172:1369-1384.e19 (2016)

PMID: 27863249

Defining cell type with chromatin profiling.

Spivakov M, Fraser P

Nature biotechnology
34 1546-1696:1126-1128 (2016)

PMID: 27824844

Integrating epigenomic data and 3D genomic structure with a new measure of chromatin assortativity.

Pancaldi V, Carrillo-de-Santa-Pau E, Javierre BM

Genome biology
17 1474-760X:152 (0)

PMID: 27391817

CHiCAGO: robust detection of DNA looping interactions in Capture Hi-C data.

Cairns J, Freire-Pritchett P, Wingett SW

Genome biology
17 1474-760X:127 (2016)

PMID: 27306882

Two Mutually Exclusive Local Chromatin States Drive Efficient V(D)J Recombination.

Bolland DJ, Koohy H, Wood AL

Cell reports
15 2211-1247:2475-87 (2016)

PMID: 27264181

CHiCP: a web-based tool for the integrative and interactive visualization of promoter capture Hi-C datasets.

Schofield EC, Carver T, Achuthan P

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)
32 1367-4811:2511-3 (2016)

PMID: 27153610