Measuring Cytological Proximity of Chromosomal Loci to Defined Nuclear Compartments with TSA-seq

Liguo Zhang, Yu Chen, Andrew S. Belmont

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Distinct nuclear structures and bodies are involved in genome intranuclear positioning. Measuring proximity and relative distances of genomic loci to these nuclear compartments, and correlating this chromosome intranuclear positioning with epigenetic marks and functional readouts genome-wide, will be required to appreciate the true extent to which this nuclear compartmentalization contributes to regulation of genome functions. Here we present detailed protocols for TSA-seq, the first sequencing-based method for estimation of cytological proximity of chromosomal loci to spatially discrete nuclear structures, such as nuclear bodies or the nuclear lamina. TSA-seq uses Tyramide Signal Amplification (TSA) of immunostained cells to create a concentration gradient of tyramide–biotin free radicals which decays exponentially as a function of distance from a point-source target. Reaction of these free radicals with DNA deposits tyramide–biotin onto DNA as a function of distance from the point source. The relative enrichment of this tyramide-labeled DNA versus input DNA, revealed by DNA sequencing, can then be used as a “cytological ruler” to infer relative, or even absolute, mean chromosomal distances from immunostained nuclear compartments. TSA-seq mapping is highly reproducible and largely independent of the target protein or antibody choice for labeling a particular nuclear compartment. Our protocols include variations in TSA labeling conditions to provide varying spatial resolution as well as enhanced sensitivity. Our most streamlined protocol produces TSA-seq spatial mapping over a distance range of ~1 micron from major nuclear compartments using ~10–20 million cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods in Molecular Biology
PublisherHumana Press Inc.
Number of pages42
StatePublished - 2022

Publication series

NameMethods in Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1064-3745
ISSN (Electronic)1940-6029


  • Gene position
  • Genome organization
  • Nuclear bodies
  • Nuclear compartments
  • Proximity labeling
  • TSA-seq

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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