A cautionary note on the use of chromosome conformation capture in plants

Jamge, Suraj; Stam, Maike; Angenent, Gerco C.; Immink, Richard G.H.


Background: The chromosome conformation capture (3C) technique is a method to study chromatin interactions at specific genomic loci. Initially established for yeast the 3C technique has been adapted to plants in recent years in order to study chromatin interactions and their role in transcriptional gene regulation. As the plant scientific community continues to implement this technology, a discussion on critical controls, validations steps and interpretation of 3C data is essential to fully benefit from 3C in plants. Results: Here we assess the reliability and robustness of the 3C technique for the detection of chromatin interactions in Arabidopsis. As a case study, we applied this methodology to the genomic locus of a floral integrator gene SUPPRESSOR OF OVEREXPRESSION OF CONSTANS1 (SOC1), and demonstrate the need of several controls and standard validation steps to allow a meaningful interpretation of 3C data. The intricacies of this promising but challenging technique are discussed in depth. Conclusions: The 3C technique offers an interesting opportunity to study chromatin interactions at a resolution infeasible by microscopy. However, for interpretation of 3C interaction data and identification of true interactions, 3C technology demands a stringent experimental setup and extreme caution.