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Study of 3D Genome Organisation in Budding Yeast by Heterogeneous Polymer Simulations

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Fahmi, Zahra 


Investigating the arrangement of the packed DNA inside the nucleus has revealed the essential role of genome organisation in controlling genome function. Furthermore, genome architecture is highly dynamic and significant chromatin re-organisation occurs in response to environmental changes. However, the mechanisms that drive the 3D organisation of the genome remain largely unknown. To understand the effect of biophysical properties of chromatin on the dynamics and structure of chromosomes, I developed a 3D computational model of the nucleus of the yeast S. cerevisiae during interphase. In the model, each chromosome was a hetero-polymer informed by our bioinformatics analysis for heterogeneous occupancy of chromatin-associated proteins across the genome. Two different conditions were modelled, normal growth (25°C) and heat shock (37°C), where a concerted redistribution of proteins was observed upon transition from one temperature to the other. Movement of chromatin segments was based on Langevin dynamics and each segment had a mobility according to their protein occupancy and the expression level of their corresponding genes. The model provides a significantly improved match with quantitative microscopy measurements of telomere positions, the distributions of 3D distances between pairs of different loci, and the mean squared displacement of a labelled locus. The quantified contacts between chromosomal segments were similar to the observed Hi-C data. At both 25°C and 37°C conditions, the segments that were highly occupied by proteins had high number of interactions with each other, and the highly transcribed genes had lower contacts with other segments. In addition, similar to the experimental observations, heat-shock genes were found to be located closer to the nuclear periphery upon activation in the simulations. It was also shown that the determined distribution of proteins along the genome is crucial to achieve the correct genome organisation. Hence, the heterogeneous binding of proteins, which results in differential mobility of chromatin segments, leads to 3D self-organisation.





Lipkow, Karen


genome organisation, computational model, budding yeast, protein occupancy, chromatin mobility, temperature, Langevin force, self-organisation, normalisation, Hi-C data


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge