Chromatin 3D organisation underpins proper gene activity. However, differences in the mechanisms controlling genome architecture between classic model systems has obscured identifying the general principles organising animal genomes. Preliminary data suggest that CTCF, a master regulator of genome architecture in mammals but not in Drosophila and C. elegans, is the most abundant DNA-binding factor in open chromatin regions in annelid worms. This project will combine 3D epigenomic and computational approaches to uncover the role of CTCF in establishing genomic architecture in annelid worms, thus clarifying whether CTCF-mediated chromatin folding is an ancestral animal feature or a vertebrate/mammalian innovation.
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