Three-dimensional organization of the genome is important for transcriptional regulation1–7. In mammals, CTCF and the cohesin complex create submegabase structures with elevated internal chromatin contact frequencies, called topologically associating domains (TADs)8–12. Although TADs can contribute to transcriptional regulation, ablation of TAD organization by disrupting CTCF or the cohesin complex causes modest gene expression changes13–16. In contrast, CTCF is required for cell cycle regulation17, embryonic development and formation of various adult cell types18. To uncouple the role of CTCF in cell-state transitions and cell proliferation, we studied the effect of CTCF depletion during the conversion of human leukemic B cells into macrophages with minimal cell division. CTCF depletion disrupts TAD organization but not cell transdifferentiation. In contrast, CTCF depletion in induced macrophages impairs the full-blown upregulation of inflammatory genes after exposure to endotoxin. Our results demonstrate that CTCF-dependent genome topology is not strictly required for a functional cell-fate conversion but facilitates a rapid and efficient response to an external stimulus.,
Nature Genetics
Department of Pulmonology

Stik, G, Vidal, E. (Enrique), Barrero, M. (Mercedes), Cuartero, S. (Sergi), Vila-Casadesús, M. (Maria), Mendieta-Esteban, J. (Julen), … Graf, T. (2020). CTCF is dispensable for immune cell transdifferentiation but facilitates an acute inflammatory response. Nature Genetics. doi:10.1038/s41588-020-0643-0