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Article
Nature Genetics  36, 1065 - 1071 (2004)
Published online: 7 September 2004; | doi:10.1038/ng1423

Active genes dynamically colocalize to shared sites of ongoing transcription

Cameron S Osborne1, Lyubomira Chakalova1, Karen E Brown2, David Carter1, 4, Alice Horton1, Emmanuel Debrand1, Beatriz Goyenechea1, Jennifer A Mitchell1, Susana Lopes3, 4, Wolf Reik3 & Peter Fraser1

1  Laboratory of Chromatin and Gene Expression, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, CB2 4AT, UK.

2  Chromosome Biology Group, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, Hammersmith Hospital Campus, Du Cane Road, London, W12 ONN, UK.

3  Laboratory of Developmental Genetics and Imprinting, The Babraham Institute, Babraham Research Campus, Cambridge, CB2 4AT, UK.

4  Present addresses: Sir William Dunn School of Pathology, Oxford University, South Parks Road, Oxford, OX1 3RE, UK (D.C.); The Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Institute, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge, CB2 1QR, UK (S.L.).

Correspondence should be addressed to Peter Fraser peter.fraser@bbsrc.ac.uk
The intranuclear position of many genes has been correlated with their activity state, suggesting that migration to functional subcompartments may influence gene expression. Indeed, nascent RNA production and RNA polymerase II seem to be localized into discrete foci or 'transcription factories'. Current estimates from cultured cells indicate that multiple genes could occupy the same factory, although this has not yet been observed. Here we show that, during transcription in vivo, distal genes colocalize to the same transcription factory at high frequencies. Active genes are dynamically organized into shared nuclear subcompartments, and movement into or out of these factories results in activation or abatement of transcription. Thus, rather than recruiting and assembling transcription complexes, active genes migrate to preassembled transcription sites.

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Nature Genetics
ISSN: 1061-4036
EISSN: 1546-1718
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