Chromatin interaction changes during the iPSC-NPC model to facilitate the study of biologically significant genes involved in differentiation

Won-Young Choi, Ji-Hyun Hwang, Jin-Young Lee, Ann-Na Cho, Andrew J. Lee, Inkyung Jung, Seung-Woo Cho, Lark Kyun Kim, Young-Joon Kim

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Given the difficulties of obtaining diseased cells, differentiation of neurons from patient-specific human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) with neural progenitor cells (NPCs) as intermediate precursors is of great interest. While cellular and transcriptomic changes during the differentiation process have been tracked, little attention has been given to examining spatial re-organization, which has been revealed to control gene regulation in various cells. To address the regulatory mechanism by 3D chromatin structure during neuronal differentiation, we examined the changes that take place during differentiation process using two cell types that are highly valued in the study of neurodegenerative disease - iPSCs and NPCs. In our study, we used Hi-C, a derivative of chromosome conformation capture that enables unbiased, genome-wide analysis of interaction frequencies in chromatin. We showed that while topologically associated domains remained mostly the same during differentiation, the presence of differential interacting regions in both cell types suggested that spatial organization affects gene regulation of both pluripotency maintenance and neuroectodermal differentiation. Moreover, closer analysis of promoter–promoter pairs suggested that cell fate specification is under the control of cis-regulatory elements. Our results are thus a resourceful addition in benchmarking differentiation protocols and also provide a greater appreciation of NPCs, the common precursors from which required neurons for applications in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and spinal cord injuries are utilized.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1176
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


  • Hi-C
  • spatial organization
  • chromatin interactions
  • human induced pluripotent stem cells
  • neural progenitor cells
  • neuronal differentiation
  • Human induced pluripotent stem cells
  • Neuronal differentiation
  • Neural progenitor cells
  • Chromatin interactions
  • Spatial organization


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