Cohesin is required for long-range enhancer action at the Shh locus

Lauren Kane, Iain Williamson, Ilya Flyamer, Yatendra Kumar, Robert E. Hill, Laura A. Lettice, Wendy A Bickmore*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The regulatory landscapes of developmental genes in mammals can be complex, with enhancers spread over many hundreds of kilobases. It has been suggested that three18 dimensional genome organisation, particularly topologically associating domains formed by cohesin-mediated loop extrusion, are important for enhancers to act over such large genomic distances. By coupling acute protein degradation with synthetic activation by targeted transcription factor recruitment, here we show that cohesin, but not CTCF, is required for activation of a target gene – Shh - by distant enhancers in mouse embryonic stem cells. Cohesin is not required for activation directly at the promoter or from an enhancer located closer to the Shh gene. Our findings support the hypothesis that chromatin compaction mediated by cohesin-mediated loop extrusion allows for genes to be activated by enhancers that are located many hundreds of kilobases away in the linear genome but suggests that cohesin is dispensable for more genomically close enhancers.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNature Structural & Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 12 Sep 2022


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