Assay for transposase-accessible chromatin by sequencing (ATAC-seq) is rapidly becoming the assay of choice to investigate chromatin-mediated gene regulation, largely because of low input requirements, a fast workflow, and the ability to interrogate the entire genome in an untargeted manner. Many studies using ATAC-seq use mammalian or human-derived tissues, and established protocols work well in these systems. However, ATAC-seq is not yet widely used in Drosophila. Vinegar flies present several advantages over mammalian systems that make them an excellent model for ATAC-seq studies, including abundant genetic tools that allow straightforward targeting, transgene expression, and genetic manipulation that are not available in mammalian models. Because current ATAC-seq protocols are not optimized to use flies, we developed an optimized workflow that accounts for several complicating factors present in Drosophila. We examined parameters affecting nuclei isolation, including input size, freezing time, washing, and possible confounds from retinal pigments. Then, we optimized the enzymatic steps of library construction to account for the smaller Drosophila genome size. Finally, we used our optimized protocol to generate ATAC-seq libraries that meet ENCODE quality metrics. Our optimized protocol enables extensive ATAC-seq experiments in Drosophila, thereby leveraging the advantages of this powerful model system to understand chromatin-mediated gene regulation.
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