ATAC-Seq, scATAC-Seq and Chromatin Dynamics in Single-Cells (Jason Buenrostro)


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In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Jason Buenrostro from Harvard University to talk about his work on developing biological tools to measure chromatin dynamics in single-cells. He explains how his lab uses these tools to study chromatin alterations in different cell types and disease states to uncover new mechanisms of gene regulation and their contribution to those diseases.

In his first years of his research career Jason Buenrostro took a risk and just added an enzyme called Transposase to cells in a cell culture. What he saw on a subsequent agarose gel astonished him. He was able to recreate a nucleosomal ladder that he knew from experiments using MNase or DNase-Seq, however, without the tedious steps of optimization. In the following years he optimized that method and data analyzation into a method known today as ATAC-Seq. In recent years he was also able to bring ATAC-Seq to the next level and developed single cell ATAC-Seq (scATAC-Seq), and combining it with RNA-Seq in a multi-omics approach.

In this Episode we discuss how Jason Buenrostro developed ATAC-Seq in William Greenleaf's lab, how a lack of equipment shaped the ATAC-Seq protocol, and how scATAC-Seq has enabled a whole different way of looking at biological samples.


  • Buenrostro, J. D., Giresi, P. G., Zaba, L. C., Chang, H. Y., & Greenleaf, W. J. (2013). Transposition of native chromatin for fast and sensitive epigenomic profiling of open chromatin, DNA-binding proteins and nucleosome position. Nature Methods, 10(12), 1213–1218.

  • Buenrostro, J. D., Wu, B., Litzenburger, U. M., Ruff, D., Gonzales, M. L., Snyder, M. P., Chang, H. Y., & Greenleaf, W. J. (2015). Single-cell chromatin accessibility reveals principles of regulatory variation. Nature, 523(7561), 486–490.

  • Buenrostro, J. D., Corces, M. R., Lareau, C. A., Wu, B., Schep, A. N., Aryee, M. J., Majeti, R., Chang, H. Y., & Greenleaf, W. J. (2018). Integrated Single-Cell Analysis Maps the Continuous Regulatory Landscape of Human Hematopoietic Differentiation. Cell, 173(6), 1535-1548.e16.

  • Lareau, C. A., Duarte, F. M., Chew, J. G., Kartha, V. K., Burkett, Z. D., Kohlway, A. S., Pokholok, D., Aryee, M. J., Steemers, F. J., Lebofsky, R., & Buenrostro, J. D. (2019). Droplet-based combinatorial indexing for massive-scale single-cell chromatin accessibility. Nature Biotechnology, 37(8), 916–924.

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