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Chromosome conformation capture (3C) methods measure DNA contact frequencies based on nuclear proximity ligation, to uncover in vivo genomic folding patterns. 4C-seq is a derivative 3C method, designed to search the genome for sequences contacting a selected genomic site of interest. 4C-seq employs inverse PCR and next generation sequencing to amplify, identify and quantify its proximity ligated DNA fragments. It generates high-resolution contact profiles for selected genomic sites based on limited amounts of sequencing reads. 4C-seq can be used to study multiple aspects of genome organization. It primarily serves to identify specific long-range DNA contacts between individual regulatory DNA modules, forming for example regulatory chromatin loops between enhancers and promoters, or architectural chromatin loops between cohesin- and CTCF- associated domain boundaries. Additionally, 4C-seq contact profiles can reveal the contours of contact domains and can identify the structural domains that co-occupy the same nuclear compartment. Here, we present an improved step-by-step protocol for sample preparation and the generation of 4C-seq sequencing libraries, including an optimized PCR and 4C template purification strategy. In addition, a data processing pipeline is provided which processes multiplexed 4C-seq reads directly from FASTQ files and generates files compatible with standard genome browsers for visualization and further statistical analysis of the data such as peak calling using peakC. The protocols and the pipeline presented should readily allow anyone to generate, visualize and interpret their own high resolution 4C contact datasets. Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Peter H L Krijger, Geert Geeven, Valerio Bianchi, Catharina R E Hilvering, Wouter de Laat. 4C-seq from beginning to end: A detailed protocol for sample preparation and data analysis. Methods (San Diego, Calif.). 2020 Jan 01;170:17-32

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PMID: 31351925

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