The non-canonical SMC protein SmcHD1 antagonises TAD formation on the inactive X chromosome
Gdula M., Nesterova T., Pintacuda G., Godwin J., Zhan Y., Ozadam H., McClellan M., Moralli D., Krueger F., Green C., Reik W., Kriaucionis S., Heard E., Dekker J., Brockdorff N.
The inactive X chromosome (Xi) in female mammals adopts an atypical higher-order chromatin structure, manifested as a global loss of local topologically associated domains (TADs), and formation of two mega-domains. In this study we demonstrate that the non-canonical SMC family protein, SmcHD1, which is important for gene silencing on Xi, contributes to this unique chromosome architecture. Specifically, allelic mapping of the transcriptome and epigenome in SmcHD1 null cells revealed the appearance of sub-megabase domains defined by gene activation, CpG hypermethylation and depletion of Polycomb-mediated H3K27me3. These domains, which correlate with sites of SmcHD1 enrichment on Xi in wild-type cells, additionally adopt features of active X chromosome higher-order chromosome architecture, including partial restoration of TAD boundaries. Xi chromosome architecture changes also occurred in an acute SmcHD1 knockout model, but in this case, independent of Xi gene de-repression. We conclude that SmcHD1 is a key factor in antagonising TAD formation on Xi. NOTE: MRG and TBN contributed equally to this work.