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Polymer Modeling Predicts Chromosome Reorganization in Senescence

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Original languageEnglish
JournalCell Reports
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019


Lamina-associated domains (LADs) cover a large part of the human genome and are thought to play a major role in shaping the nuclear architectural landscape. Here, we perform polymer simulations, microscopy, and mass spectrometry to dissect the roles played by heterochromatin- and lamina-mediated interactions in nuclear organization. Our model explains the conventional organization of heterochromatin and euchromatin in growing cells and the pathological organization found in oncogene-induced senescence and progeria. We show that the experimentally observed changes in the locality of contacts in senescent and progeroid cells can be explained as arising due to phase transitions in the system. Within our simulations, LADs are highly stochastic, as in experiments. Our model suggests that, once established, the senescent phenotype should be metastable even if lamina-mediated interactions were reinstated. Overall, our simulations uncover a generic physical mechanism that can regulate heterochromatin segregation and LAD formation in a wide range of mammalian nuclei.

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