Analysis of 3D genomic interactions identifies candidate host genes that transposable elements potentially regulate

Ramya Raviram, Pedro P. Rocha, Vincent M. Luo, Emily Swanzey, Emily R. Miraldi, Edward B. Chuong, Cédric Feschotte, Richard Bonneau, Jane A. Skok

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The organization of chromatin in the nucleus plays an essential role in gene regulation. About half of the mammalian genome comprises transposable elements. Given their repetitive nature, reads associated with these elements are generally discarded or randomly distributed among elements of the same type in genome-wide analyses. Thus, it is challenging to identify the activities and properties of individual transposons. As a result, we only have a partial understanding of how transposons contribute to chromatin folding and how they impact gene regulation. Results: Using PCR and Capture-based chromosome conformation capture (3C) approaches, collectively called 4Tran, we take advantage of the repetitive nature of transposons to capture interactions from multiple copies of endogenous retrovirus (ERVs) in the human and mouse genomes. With 4Tran-PCR, reads are selectively mapped to unique regions in the genome. This enables the identification of transposable element interaction profiles for individual ERV families and integration events specific to particular genomes. With this approach, we demonstrate that transposons engage in long-range intra-chromosomal interactions guided by the separation of chromosomes into A and B compartments as well as topologically associated domains (TADs). In contrast to 4Tran-PCR, Capture-4Tran can uniquely identify both ends of an interaction that involve retroviral repeat sequences, providing a powerful tool for uncovering the individual transposable element insertions that interact with and potentially regulate target genes. Conclusions: 4Tran provides new insight into the manner in which transposons contribute to chromosome architecture and identifies target genes that transposable elements can potentially control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number216
JournalGenome biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 13 2018


  • Chromosome conformation capture
  • Endogenous retroviruses
  • Enhancers
  • Gene regulation
  • Loops
  • Nuclear organization
  • Solo LTRs
  • Transposons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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