A guide to visualizing the spatial epigenome with super-resolution microscopy.
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Cited by: 11


Genomic DNA in eukaryotic cells is tightly compacted with histone proteins into nucleosomes, which are further packaged into the higher-order chromatin structure. The physical structuring of chromatin is highly dynamic and regulated by a large number of epigenetic modifications in response to various environmental exposures, both in normal development and pathological processes such as aging and cancer. Higher-order chromatin structure has been indirectly inferred by conventional bulk biochemical assays on cell populations, which do not allow direct visualization of the spatial information of epigenomics (referred to as spatial epigenomics). With recent advances in super-resolution microscopy, the higher-order chromatin structure can now be visualized in vivo at an unprecedent resolution. This opens up new opportunities to study physical compaction of 3D chromatin structure in single cells, maintaining a well-preserved spatial context of tissue microenvironment. This review discusses the recent application of super-resolution fluorescence microscopy to investigate the higher-order chromatin structure of different epigenomic states. We also envision the synergistic integration of super-resolution microscopy and high-throughput genomic technologies for the analysis of spatial epigenomics to fully understand the genome function in normal biological processes and diseases.


Spatial Epigenomics
Spatial Genomics
DNA methylation
chromatin organization
histone modification

MeSH terms

Cellular Microenvironment
DNA Methylation
Epigenesis, Genetic
Genome, Human
Microscopy, Fluorescence
Molecular Conformation
Single-Cell Analysis


Xu, Jianquan
Liu, Yang

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