A Constitutive Heterochromatic Region Shapes Genome Organization and Impacts Gene Expression in Neurospora crassa

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A Constitutive Heterochromatic Region Shapes Genome Organization and Impacts Gene Expression in Neurospora crassa

Authors

Reckard, A. T.; Pandeya, A.; Voris, J. M.; Gonzalez Cruz, C. G.; Oluwadare, O. E.; Klocko, A. D.

Abstract

Genome organization is essential for proper function, including gene expression. In metazoan genome organization, chromatin loops and Topologically Associated Domains (TADs) facilitate local gene clustering, while chromosomes form distinct nuclear territories characterized by compartmentalization of silent heterochromatin at the nuclear periphery and active euchromatin in the nucleus center. A similar hierarchical organization occurs in the fungus Neurospora crassa where its seven chromosomes form a Rabl conformation, where heterochromatic centromeres and telomeres independently cluster at the nuclear membrane, while interspersed heterochromatic loci in Neurospora aggregate across megabases of linear genomic distance for forming TAD-like structures. However, the role of individual heterochromatic loci in normal genome organization and function is unknown. Here, we examined the genome organization of a Neurospora strain harboring a ~47.4 kilobase facultative (temporarily silent) heterochromatic region deletion, as well as the genome organization of a strain deleted of a 110.6 kilobase permanently silent constitutive heterochromatic region. While the facultative heterochromatin deletion had little effect on local chromatin structure, the constitutive heterochromatin deletion altered local TAD-like structures, gene expression, and the predicted 3D genome structure by qualitatively repositioning genes into the nucleus center. Our work elucidates the role of individual heterochromatic regions for genome organization and function.

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