Estrogen induces global reorganization of chromatin structure In human breast cancer cells

Raphaël Mourad, Pei Yin Hsu, Liran Juan, Changyu Shen, Prasad Koneru, Hai Lin, Yunlong Liu, Kenneth Nephew, Tim H. Huang, Lang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In the cell nucleus, each chromosome is confined to a chromosome territory. This spatial organization of chromosomes plays a crucial role in gene regulation and genome stability. An additional level of organization has been discovered at the chromosome scale: the spatial segregation into open and closed chromatins to form two genome-wide compartments. Although considerable progress has been made in our knowledge of chromatin organization, a fundamental issue remains the understanding of its dynamics, especially in cancer. To address this issue, we performed genome-wide mapping of chromatin interactions (Hi-C) over the time after estrogen stimulation of breast cancer cells. To biologically interpret these interactions, we integrated with estrogen receptor α (ERα) binding events, gene expression and epigenetic marks. We show that gene-rich chromosomes as well as areas of open and highly transcribed chromatins are rearranged to greater spatial proximity, thus enabling genes to share transcriptional machinery and regulatory elements. At a smaller scale, differentially interacting loci are enriched for cancer proliferation and estrogen-related genes. Moreover, these loci are correlated with higher ERa binding events and gene expression. Taken together these results reveal the role of a hormone - estrogen - on genome organization, and its effect on gene regulation in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere113354
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 3 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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