The most significant genetic influence on eye color pigmentation is attributed to the intronic SNP rs12913832 in the HERC2 gene, which interacts with the promoter region of the contiguous OCA2 gene. This interaction, through the formation of a chromatin loop, modulates the transcriptional activity of OCA2, directly affecting eye color pigmentation. Recent advancements in technology have elucidated the precise spatial organization of the genome within the cell nucleus, with chromatin architecture playing a pivotal role in regulating various genome functions. In this study, we investigated the organization of the chromatin close to the HERC2/OCA2 locus in human lymphocyte nuclei using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and high-throughput chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) data. The 3 Mb of genomic DNA that belonged to the chromosomal region 15q12-q13.1 revealed the presence of three contiguous chromatin loops, which exhibited a different level of compaction depending on the presence of the A or G allele in the SNP rs12913832. Moreover, the analysis of the genomic organization of the genes has demonstrated that this chromosomal region is evolutionarily highly conserved, as evidenced by the analysis of syntenic regions in species from other Vertebrate classes. Thus, the role of rs12913832 variant is relevant not only in determining the transcriptional activation of the OCA2 gene but also in the chromatin compaction of a larger region, underscoring the critical role of chromatin organization in the proper regulation of the involved genes. It is crucial to consider the broader implications of this finding, especially regarding the potential regulatory role of similar polymorphisms located within intronic regions, which do not influence the same gene by modulating the splicing process, but they regulate the expression of adjacent genes. Therefore, caution should be exercised when utilizing whole-exome sequencing for diagnostic purposes, as intron sequences may provide valuable gene regulation information on the region where they reside. Thus, future research efforts should also be directed towards gaining a deeper understanding of the precise mechanisms underlying the role and mode of action of intronic SNPs in chromatin loop organization and transcriptional regulation.

The Chromatin Organization Close to SNP rs12913832, Involved in Eye Color Variation, Is Evolutionary Conserved in Vertebrates

Brancato, Desiree;Bruno, Francesca;Coniglio, Elvira;Sturiale, Valentina;Saccone, Salvatore
;
Federico, Concetta
2024-01-01

Abstract

The most significant genetic influence on eye color pigmentation is attributed to the intronic SNP rs12913832 in the HERC2 gene, which interacts with the promoter region of the contiguous OCA2 gene. This interaction, through the formation of a chromatin loop, modulates the transcriptional activity of OCA2, directly affecting eye color pigmentation. Recent advancements in technology have elucidated the precise spatial organization of the genome within the cell nucleus, with chromatin architecture playing a pivotal role in regulating various genome functions. In this study, we investigated the organization of the chromatin close to the HERC2/OCA2 locus in human lymphocyte nuclei using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and high-throughput chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) data. The 3 Mb of genomic DNA that belonged to the chromosomal region 15q12-q13.1 revealed the presence of three contiguous chromatin loops, which exhibited a different level of compaction depending on the presence of the A or G allele in the SNP rs12913832. Moreover, the analysis of the genomic organization of the genes has demonstrated that this chromosomal region is evolutionarily highly conserved, as evidenced by the analysis of syntenic regions in species from other Vertebrate classes. Thus, the role of rs12913832 variant is relevant not only in determining the transcriptional activation of the OCA2 gene but also in the chromatin compaction of a larger region, underscoring the critical role of chromatin organization in the proper regulation of the involved genes. It is crucial to consider the broader implications of this finding, especially regarding the potential regulatory role of similar polymorphisms located within intronic regions, which do not influence the same gene by modulating the splicing process, but they regulate the expression of adjacent genes. Therefore, caution should be exercised when utilizing whole-exome sequencing for diagnostic purposes, as intron sequences may provide valuable gene regulation information on the region where they reside. Thus, future research efforts should also be directed towards gaining a deeper understanding of the precise mechanisms underlying the role and mode of action of intronic SNPs in chromatin loop organization and transcriptional regulation.
2024
HERC2 gene
OCA2 gene
SNP rs12913832
chromatin loops
externally visible characteristics
eye color
genetic polymorphisms
genome organization
in situ hybridization
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/624109
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