Quantitative FLIM-FRET Microscopy to Monitor Nanoscale Chromatin Compaction In Vivo Reveals Structural Roles of Condensin Complexes

Llères, D.*, Bailly, A. P.*, Perrin, A., Norman, D. G., Xirodimas, D. P. , Feil, R.

Cell Rep

2017-02-14 / vol 18 / pages 1791-1803


How metazoan genomes are structured at the nanoscale in living cells and tissues remains unknown. Here, we adapted a quantitative FRET (Forster resonance energy transfer)-based fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) approach to assay nanoscale chromatin compaction in living organisms. Caenorhabditis elegans was chosen as a model system. By measuring FRET between histone-tagged fluorescent proteins, we visualized distinct chromosomal regions and quantified the different levels of nanoscale compaction in meiotic cells. Using RNAi and repetitive extrachromosomal array approaches, we defined the heterochromatin state and showed that its architecture presents a nanoscale-compacted organization controlled by Heterochromatin Protein-1 (HP1) and SETDB1 H3-lysine-9 methyltransferase homologs in vivo. Next, we functionally explored condensin complexes. We found that condensin I and condensin II are essential for heterochromatin compaction and that condensin I additionally controls lowly compacted regions. Our data show that, in living animals, nanoscale chromatin compaction is controlled not only by histone modifiers and readers but also by condensin complexes.

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2211-1247 (Electronic)

IGMM team(s) involved in this publication

C. elegans; chromatin compaction; chromosome structure; condensin; FLIM-FRET imaging; heterochromatin; Hp1; meiosis

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