Condensins are molecular motors that compact DNA via linear translocation. In Caenorhabditis elegans, the X-chromosome harbors a specialized condensin that participates in dosage compensation (DC). Condensin DC is recruited to and spreads from a small number of recruitment elements on the X-chromosome (rex) and is required for the formation of topologically associating domains (TADs). We take advantage of autosomes that are largely devoid of condensin DC and TADs to address how rex sites and condensin DC give rise to the formation of TADs. When an autosome and X-chromosome are physically fused, despite the spreading of condensin DC into the autosome, no TAD was created. Insertion of a strong rex on the X-chromosome results in the TAD boundary formation regardless of sequence orientation. When the same rex is inserted on an autosome, despite condensin DC recruitment, there was no spreading or features of a TAD. On the other hand, when a ‘super rex’ composed of six rex sites or three separate rex sites are inserted on an autosome, recruitment and spreading of condensin DC led to the formation of TADs. Therefore, recruitment to and spreading from rex sites are necessary and sufficient for recapitulating loop-anchored TADs observed on the X-chromosome. Together our data suggest a model in which rex sites are both loading sites and bidirectional barriers for condensin DC, a one-sided loop-extruder with movable inactive anchor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)