Spatial organization of active and inactive genes and noncoding DNA within chromosome territories

Nicola L Mahy, Paul E Perry, Susan Gilchrist, Richard A Baldock, Wendy A Bickmore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The position of genes within the nucleus has been correlated with their transcriptional activity. The interchromosome domain model of nuclear organization suggests that genes preferentially locate at the surface of chromosome territories. Conversely, high resolution analysis of chromatin fibers suggests that chromosome territories do not present accessibility barriers to transcription machinery. To clarify the relationship between the organization of chromosome territories and gene expression, we have used fluorescence in situ hybridization to analyze the spatial organization of a contiguous approximately 1 Mb stretch of the Wilms' tumor, aniridia, genitourinary anomalies, mental retardation syndrome region of the human genome and the syntenic region in the mouse. These regions contain constitutively expressed genes, genes with tissue-restricted patterns of expression, and substantial regions of intergenic DNA. We find that there is a spatial organization within territories that is conserved between mouse and humans: certain sequences do preferentially locate at the periphery of the chromosome territories in both species. However, we do not detect genes necessarily at the periphery of chromosome territories or at the surface of subchromosomal domains. Intraterritory organization is not different among cell types that express different combinations of the genes under study. Our data demonstrate that transcription of both ubiquitous and tissue-restricted genes is not confined to the periphery of chromosome territories, suggesting that the basal transcription machinery and transcription factors can readily gain access to the chromosome interior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-89
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2002

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Animals
  • Genome, Human
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Cell Nucleus
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 11
  • Chromosomes
  • Genes
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • DNA
  • Gene Expression Regulation


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