• Record: found
  • Abstract: found
  • Article: found
Is Open Access

Thermodynamic pathways to genome spatial organization in the cell nucleus


Read this article at

      There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.


      The architecture of the eukaryotic genome is characterized by a high degree of spatial organization. Chromosomes occupy preferred territories correlated to their state of activity and, yet, displace their genes to interact with remote sites in complex patterns requiring the orchestration of a huge number of DNA loci and molecular regulators. Far from random, this organization serves crucial functional purposes, but its governing principles remain elusive. By computer simulations of a Statistical Mechanics model, we show how architectural patterns spontaneously arise from the physical interaction between soluble binding molecules and chromosomes via collective thermodynamics mechanisms. Chromosomes colocalize, loops and territories form and find their relative positions as stable thermodynamic states. These are selected by "thermodynamic switches" which are regulated by concentrations/affinity of soluble mediators and by number/location of their attachment sites along chromosomes. Our "thermodynamic switch model" of nuclear architecture, thus, explains on quantitative grounds how well known cell strategies of upregulation of DNA binding proteins or modification of chromatin structure can dynamically shape the organization of the nucleus.

      Related collections

      Author and article information


      Custom metadata
      Biophys.Jou. 96, 2168 (2009)
      q-bio.GN q-bio.SC

      Cell biology, Genetics


      Comment on this article