Upon microbial challenge, human neutrophils undergo rapid changes in nuclear architecture and chromatin folding to orchestrate an immediate inflammatory gene program.
Differentiating neutrophils undergo large-scale changes in nuclear morphology. How such alterations in structure are established and modulated upon exposure to microbial agents is largely unknown. Here, we found that prior to encounter with bacteria, an armamentarium of inflammatory genes was positioned in a transcriptionally passive environment suppressing premature transcriptional activation. Upon microbial exposure, however, human neutrophils rapidly (<3 h) repositioned the ensemble of proinflammatory genes toward the transcriptionally permissive compartment. We show that the repositioning of genes was closely associated with the swift recruitment of cohesin across the inflammatory enhancer landscape, permitting an immediate transcriptional response upon bacterial exposure. We found that activated enhancers, marked by increased deposition of H3K27Ac, were highly enriched for cistromic elements associated with PU.1, CEBPB, TFE3, JUN, and FOSL2 occupancy. These data reveal how upon microbial challenge the cohesin machinery is recruited to an activated enhancer repertoire to instruct changes in chromatin folding, nuclear architecture, and to activate an inflammatory gene program.