Chromatin interaction analysis reveals changes in small chromosome and telomere clustering between epithelial and breast cancer cells

A. Rasim Barutcu, Bryan R. Lajoie, Rachel P. McCord, Coralee E. Tye, Deli Hong, Terri L. Messier, Gillian Browne, Andre J. van Wijnen, Jane B. Lian, Janet L. Stein, Job Dekker, Anthony N. Imbalzano, Gary S. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


Background: Higher-order chromatin structure is often perturbed in cancer and other pathological states. Although several genetic and epigenetic differences have been charted between normal and breast cancer tissues, changes in higher-order chromatin organization during tumorigenesis have not been fully explored. To probe the differences in higher-order chromatin structure between mammary epithelial and breast cancer cells, we performed Hi-C analysis on MCF-10A mammary epithelial and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines. Results: Our studies reveal that the small, gene-rich chromosomes chr16 through chr22 in the MCF-7 breast cancer genome display decreased interaction frequency with each other compared to the inter-chromosomal interaction frequency in the MCF-10A epithelial cells. Interestingly, this finding is associated with a higher occurrence of open compartments on chr16-22 in MCF-7 cells. Pathway analysis of the MCF-7 up-regulated genes located in altered compartment regions on chr16-22 reveals pathways related to repression of WNT signaling. There are also differences in intra-chromosomal interactions between the cell lines; telomeric and sub-telomeric regions in the MCF-10A cells display more frequent interactions than are observed in the MCF-7 cells. Conclusions: We show evidence of an intricate relationship between chromosomal organization and gene expression between epithelial and breast cancer cells. Importantly, this work provides a genome-wide view of higher-order chromatin dynamics and a resource for studying higher-order chromatin interactions in two cell lines commonly used to study the progression of breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214
JournalGenome biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 28 2015


  • Breast Cancer
  • Chromosome Conformation Capture
  • Hi-C
  • TAD
  • Telomere
  • Topologically Associating Domain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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