An integrative approach for fine-mapping chromatin interactions. | Jason Ernst

Artur Jaroszewicz,  Jason Ernst



Chromatin interactions play an important role in genome architecture and gene regulation. The Hi-C assay generates such interactions maps genome-wide, but at relatively low resolutions (e.g. 5-25 kb), which is substantially coarser than the resolution of transcription factor binding sites or open chromatin sites that are potential sources of such interactions.


To predict the sources of Hi-C-identified interactions at a high resolution (e.g. 100 bp), we developed a computational method that integrates data from DNase-seq and ChIP-seq of TFs and histone marks. Our method, χ-CNN, uses this data to first train a convolutional neural network (CNN) to discriminate between called Hi-C interactions and non-interactions. χ-CNN then predicts the high-resolution source of each Hi-C interaction using a feature attribution method. We show these predictions recover original Hi-C peaks after extending them to be coarser. We also show χ-CNN predictions enrich for evolutionarily conserved bases, eQTLs and CTCF motifs, supporting their biological significance. χ-CNN provides an approach for analyzing important aspects of genome architecture and gene regulation at a higher resolution than previously possible.

Availability and implementation

χ-CNN software is available on GitHub (

Supplementary information

Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.