Vara C, Paytuví-Gallart A, Cuartero Y, Le Dily F, Garcia F, Salvà-Castro J, Gómez-H L, Julià E, Moutinho C, Aiese Cigliano R, Sanseverino W, Fornas O, Pendás AM, Heyn H, Waters PD, Marti-Renom MA, Ruiz-Herrera A
Mammalian gametogenesis involves dramatic and tightly regulated chromatin remodeling, whose regulatory pathways remain largely unexplored. Here, we generate a comprehensive high-resolution structural and functional atlas of mouse spermatogenesis by combining in situ chromosome conformation capture sequencing (Hi-C), RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) of CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and meiotic cohesins, coupled with confocal and super-resolution microscopy. Spermatogonia presents well-defined compartment patterns and topological domains. However, chromosome occupancy and compartmentalization are highly re-arranged during prophase I, with cohesins bound to active promoters in DNA loops out of the chromosomal axes. Compartment patterns re-emerge in round spermatids, where cohesin occupancy correlates with transcriptional activity of key developmental genes. The compact sperm genome contains compartments with actively transcribed genes but no fine-scale topological domains, concomitant with the presence of protamines. Overall, we demonstrate how genome-wide cohesin occupancy and transcriptional activity is associated with three-dimensional (3D) remodeling during spermatogenesis, ultimately reprogramming the genome for the next generation.