While nuclear compartmentalization is an essential feature of three-dimensional genome organization, no genomic method exists for measuring chromosome distances to defined nuclear structures. Here we describe TSA-Seq, a new mapping method able to estimate mean chromosomal distances from nuclear speckles genome-wide and predict several Mbp chromosome trajectories between nuclear compartments without sophisticated computational modeling. Ensemble-averaged results reveal a clear nuclear lamina to speckle axis correlated with a striking spatial gradient in genome activity. This gradient represents a convolution of multiple, spatially separated nuclear domains, including two types of transcription “hot-zones”. Transcription hot-zones protruding furthest into the nuclear interior and positioning deterministically very close to nuclear speckles have higher numbers of total genes, the most highly expressed genes, house-keeping genes, genes with low transcriptional pausing, and super-enhancers. Our results demonstrate the capability of TSA-Seq for genome-wide mapping of nuclear structure and suggest a new model for the nuclear spatial organization of transcription.

You can find our paper on TSA-seq here.