High-resolution, genome-wide mapping of positive supercoiling in chromosomes

Monica S. Guo*, Ryo Kawamura, Megan Littlehale, John F. Marko, Michael T. Laub

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Supercoiling impacts DNA replication, transcription, protein binding to DNA, and the threedimensional organization of chromosomes. However, there are currently no methods to directly interrogate or map positive supercoils, so their distribution in genomes remains unknown. Here, we describe a method, GapR-seq, based on the chromatin immunoprecipitation of GapR, a bacterial protein that preferentially recognizes overtwisted DNA, for generating high-resolution maps of positive supercoiling. Applying this method to E. coli and S. cerevisiae, we find that positive supercoiling is widespread, associated with transcription, and particularly enriched between convergently-oriented genes, consistent with the “twin-domain” model of supercoiling. In yeast, we also find positive supercoils associated with centromeres, cohesin binding sites, autonomously replicating sites, and the borders of R-loops (DNA-RNA hybrids). Our results suggest that GapR-seq is a powerful approach, likely applicable in any organism, to investigate aspects of chromosome structure and organization not accessible by Hi-C or other existing methods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere67236
StatePublished - Jul 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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