Quantifying the phase separation property of chromatin-associated proteins under physiological conditions using an anti-1,6-hexanediol index

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Abstract

Background: Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) is an important organizing principle for biomolecular condensation and chromosome compartmentalization. However, while many proteins have been reported to undergo LLPS, quantitative and global analysis of chromatin LLPS property remains absent. Results: Here, by combining chromatin-associated protein pull-down, quantitative proteomics and 1,6-hexanediol (1,6-HD) treatment, we develop Hi-MS and define an anti-1,6-HD index of chromatin-associated proteins (AICAP) to quantify 1,6-HD sensitivity of chromatin-associated proteins under physiological conditions. Compared with known physicochemical properties involved in phase separation, we find that proteins with lower AICAP are associated with higher content of disordered regions, higher hydrophobic residue preference, higher mobility and higher predicted LLPS potential. We also construct BL-Hi-C libraries following 1,6-HD treatment to study the sensitivity of chromatin conformation to 1,6-HD treatment. We find that the active chromatin and high-order structures, as well as the proteins enriched in corresponding regions, are more sensitive to 1,6-HD treatment. Conclusions: Our work provides a global quantitative measurement of LLPS properties of chromatin-associated proteins and higher-order chromatin structure. Hi-MS and AICAP data provide an experimental tool and quantitative resources valuable for future studies of biomolecular condensates.

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Shi, M., You, K., Chen, T., Hou, C., Liang, Z., Liu, M., … Li, T. (2021). Quantifying the phase separation property of chromatin-associated proteins under physiological conditions using an anti-1,6-hexanediol index. Genome Biology, 22(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-021-02456-2

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