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MICROSCOPY

Chromatin dynamics get mapped

Shaban, H. A. et al. Genome Biol. 21, 95 (2020).

Studying genome organization and dynamics is crucial for understanding the regulation of gene expression. Although genome movement has been explored, a method for studying bulk chromatin dynamics at high resolution was not available. Shaban et al. have developed high-resolution diffusion mapping (Hi-D) to quantitatively map the dynamics of chromatin and abundant nuclear proteins. In Hi-D, labeled DNA or nuclear proteins are imaged over time, and then dense optical flow reconstruction is used to quantify the local motion at sub-pixel accuracy. Next, a Bayesian interference approach is employed to classify local types of diffusion, and biophysical properties such as diffusion constants are used to create two-dimensional maps of dynamics. With Hi-D the researchers were able to map the dynamics of chromatin under multiple conditions as well as the dynamics of RNA polymerase II. A key observation of the study is that chromatin dynamics are dictated by DNA–DNA contacts and protein binding rather than chromatin density and compaction.

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Correspondence to Rita Strack.

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Strack, R. Chromatin dynamics get mapped. Nat Methods 17, 563 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41592-020-0870-4

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