Seeing the forest through the trees: prioritising potentially functional interactions from Hi-C

Ning Liu, Wai Yee Low, Hamid Alinejad-Rokny, Stephen Pederson, Timothy Sadlon, Simon Barry, James Breen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Eukaryotic genomes are highly organised within the nucleus of a cell, allowing widely dispersed regulatory elements such as enhancers to interact with gene promoters through physical contacts in three-dimensional space. Recent chromosome conformation capture methodologies such as Hi-C have enabled the analysis of interacting regions of the genome providing a valuable insight into the three-dimensional organisation of the chromatin in the nucleus, including chromosome compartmentalisation and gene expression. Complicating the analysis of Hi-C data, however, is the massive amount of identified interactions, many of which do not directly drive gene function, thus hindering the identification of potentially biologically functional 3D interactions. In this review, we collate and examine the downstream analysis of Hi-C data with particular focus on methods that prioritise potentially functional interactions. We classify three groups of approaches: structural-based discovery methods, e.g. A/B compartments and topologically associated domains, detection of statistically significant chromatin interactions, and the use of epigenomic data integration to narrow down useful interaction information. Careful use of these three approaches is crucial to successfully identifying potentially functional interactions within the genome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41
JournalEpigenetics and Chromatin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 28 Aug 2021

Cite this