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Nuclear organization of the genome and the potential for gene regulation

Abstract

Much work has been published on the cis-regulatory elements that affect gene function locally, as well as on the biochemistry of the transcription factors and chromatin- and histone-modifying complexes that influence gene expression. However, surprisingly little information is available about how these components are organized within the three-dimensional space of the nucleus. Technological advances are now helping to identify the spatial relationships and interactions of genes and regulatory elements in the nucleus and are revealing an unexpectedly extensive network of communication within and between chromosomes. A crucial unresolved issue is the extent to which this organization affects gene function, rather than just reflecting it.

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Figure 1: Events of nuclear reorganization during X-chromosome inactivation.
Figure 2: Colocalization of genes in the nucleus for expression or coregulation.
Figure 3: Cis and trans interactions of the H enhancer and olfactory-receptor genes.

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Acknowledgements

P.F. is a Senior Fellow of the Medical Research Council UK and receives support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, UK. W.B. is a Centennial fellow of the James S. McDonnell Foundation, is supported by the Medical Research Council UK and acknowledges the contribution of the EU FP6 Epigenome Network of Excellence.

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Reprints and permissions information is available at http://npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. Correspondence should be addressed to W.B. (w.bickmore@hgu.mrc.ac.uk) or P.F. (peter.fraser@bbsrc.ac.uk).

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Fraser, P., Bickmore, W. Nuclear organization of the genome and the potential for gene regulation. Nature 447, 413–417 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature05916

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