Heterogeneous interactions and polymer entropy decide organization and dynamics of chromatin domains

Kiran Kumari, J. Ravi Prakash, Ranjith Padinhateeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Chromatin is known to be organized into multiple domains of varying sizes and compaction. While these domains are often imagined as static structures, they are highly dynamic and show cell-to-cell variability. Since processes such as gene regulation and DNA replication occur in the context of these domains, it is important to understand their organization, fluctuation, and dynamics. To simulate chromatin domains, one requires knowledge of interaction strengths among chromatin segments. Here, we derive interaction-strength parameters from experimentally known contact maps and use them to predict chromatin organization and dynamics. Taking two domains on the human chromosome as examples, we investigate its three-dimensional organization, size/shape fluctuations, and dynamics of different segments within a domain, accounting for hydrodynamic effects. Considering different cell types, we quantify changes in interaction strengths and chromatin shape fluctuations in different epigenetic states. Perturbing the interaction strengths systematically, we further investigate how epigenetic-like changes can alter the spatio-temporal nature of the domains. Our results show that heterogeneous weak interactions are crucial in determining the organization of the domains. Computing effective stiffness and relaxation times, we investigate how perturbations in interactions affect the solid- and liquid-like nature of chromatin domains. Quantifying dynamics of chromatin segments within a domain, we show how the competition between polymer entropy and interaction energy influence the timescales of loop formation and maintenance of stable loops.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2794-2812
Number of pages19
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2022

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