Chromosomes in many organisms, including Drosophila and mammals, are folded into topologically associating domains (TADs). Increasing evidence suggests that TAD folding is hierarchical, wherein subdomains combine to form larger superdomains, instead of a sequence of nonoverlapping domains. Here, we studied the hierarchical structure of TADs in Drosophila. We show that the boundaries of TADs of different hierarchical levels are characterized by the presence of different portions of active chromatin, but do not vary in the binding of architectural proteins, such as CCCTC binding factor or cohesin. The apparent hierarchy of TADs in Drosophila chromosomes is not likely to have functional importance but rather reflects various options of long-range chromatin folding directed by the distribution of active and inactive chromatin segments and may represent population average.
- genome spatial organization
- topologically associating domain