The 3D enhancer network of the developing T cell genome is controlled by SATB1
Mechanisms of tissue-specific gene expression regulation via spatial coordination of gene promoters and distal regulatory elements are still poorly understood. We investigated the 3D genome organization of developing murine T cells and identified SATB1, a tissue-specific genome organizer, enriched at the anchors of promoter-enhancer chromatin loops. We assessed the function of SATB1 in T cell chromatin organization and compared it to the conventional genome organizer CTCF. SATB1 builds a more
... fined layer of genome organization upon a CTCF scaffold. To understand the regulatory implications of SATB1 loopscape structure, we generated Satb1fl/flCd4-Cre+ (Satb1 cKO) conditional knockout animals which suffered from autoimmunity. We aimed to identify molecular mechanisms responsible for the deregulation of the immune system in Satb1 cKO animals. H3K27ac HiChIP and Hi-C experiments indicated that SATB1 primarily mediates promoter-enhancer loops affecting master regulator genes (such as Bcl6), the T cell receptor locus and adhesion molecule genes, collectively being critical for cell lineage specification and immune system homeostasis. Our findings unravel the function of a tissue-specific factor that controls transcription programs, via spatial chromatin arrangements complementary to the chromatin structure imposed by ubiquitously expressed genome organizers.