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PLoS One. 2016 May 24;11(5):e0155378. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0155378. eCollection 2016.

CTCF and CohesinSA-1 Mark Active Promoters and Boundaries of Repressive Chromatin Domains in Primary Human Erythroid Cells.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, United States of America.
Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Departments of Pathology and Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.



CTCF and cohesinSA-1 are regulatory proteins involved in a number of critical cellular processes including transcription, maintenance of chromatin domain architecture, and insulator function. To assess changes in the CTCF and cohesinSA-1 interactomes during erythropoiesis, chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with high throughput sequencing and mRNA transcriptome analyses via RNA-seq were performed in primary human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPC) and primary human erythroid cells from single donors.


Sites of CTCF and cohesinSA-1 co-occupancy were enriched in gene promoters in HSPC and erythroid cells compared to single CTCF or cohesin sites. Cell type-specific CTCF sites in erythroid cells were linked to highly expressed genes, with the opposite pattern observed in HSPCs. Chromatin domains were identified by ChIP-seq with antibodies against trimethylated lysine 27 histone H3, a modification associated with repressive chromatin. Repressive chromatin domains increased in both number and size during hematopoiesis, with many more repressive domains in erythroid cells than HSPCs. CTCF and cohesinSA-1 marked the boundaries of these repressive chromatin domains in a cell-type specific manner.


These genome wide data, changes in sites of protein occupancy, chromatin architecture, and related gene expression, support the hypothesis that CTCF and cohesinSA-1 have multiple roles in the regulation of gene expression during erythropoiesis including transcriptional regulation at gene promoters and maintenance of chromatin architecture. These data from primary human erythroid cells provide a resource for studies of normal and perturbed erythropoiesis.

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