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The role of insulator elements in large-scale chromatin structure in interphase

Dorman, E.R.; Bushey, A.M.; Corces, V.G.

Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 18(5): 682-690

2007


ISSN/ISBN: 1084-9521
PMID: 17919949
DOI: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2007.08.009
Accession: 021980759

Insulator elements can be classified as enhancer-blocking or barrier insulators depending on whether they interfere with enhancer-promoter interactions or act as barriers against the spreading of heterochromatin. The former class may exert its function at least in part by attaching the chromatin fiber to a nuclear substrate such as the nuclear matrix, resulting in the formation of chromatin loops. The latter class functions by recruiting histone-modifying enzymes, although some barrier insulators have also been shown to create chromatin loops. These loops may correspond to functional nuclear domains containing clusters of co-expressed genes. Thus, insulators may determine specific patterns of nuclear organization that are important in establishing specific programs of gene expression during cell differentiation and development.

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