On the identification of differentially-active transcription factors from ATAC-seq data

Gerbaldo F. et al.

ATAC-seq has emerged as a rich epigenome profiling technique, and is commonly used to identify Transcription Factors (TFs) underlying given phenomena. A number of methods can be used to identify differentially-active TFs through the accessibility of their DNA-binding motif, however little is known on the best approaches for doing so. Here we benchmark several such methods using a combination of curated datasets with various forms of short-term perturbations on known TFs, as well as semi-simulations. We include both methods specifically designed for this type of data as well as some that can be repurposed for it. We also investigate variations to these methods, and identify three particularly promising approaches (chromVAR-limma with critical adjustments, monaLisa and a combination of GC smooth quantile normalization and multivariate modeling). We further investigate the specific use of nucleosome-free fragments, the combination of top methods, and the impact of technical variation. Finally, we illustrate the use of the top methods on a novel dataset to characterize the impact on DNA accessibility of TRAnscription Factor TArgeting Chimeras (TRAFTAC), which can deplete TFs – in our case NFkB – at the protein level.


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March, 2024


Products used in this publication

  • Kit icon
    Tagmentation Buffer (2x)
  • Tubes
    Tagmentase (Tn5 transposase) – loaded EARLY ACCESS
  • Kit icon
    24 UDI for Tagmented libraries - Set I


  • FASEB Biological Methylation: Fundamental Mechanisms
    Porto, Portugal
    Jul 28-Aug 1, 2024


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