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J R Soc Interface. 2011 Dec 7;8(65):1673-81. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0371. Epub 2011 Aug 24.

On the role of DNA biomechanics in the regulation of gene expression.

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  • 1Departments of Physics and Biophysics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA.


DNA is traditionally seen as a linear sequence of instructions for cellular functions that are expressed through biochemical processes. Cellular DNA, however, is also organized as a complex hierarchical structure with a mosaic of mechanical features, and a growing body of evidence is now emerging to imply that these mechanical features are connected to genetic function. Mechanical tension, for instance, which must be felt by DNA within the heavily constrained and continually fluctuating cellular environment, can affect a number of regulatory processes implicating a role for biomechanics in gene expression complementary to that of biochemical regulation. In this article, we review evidence for such mechanical pathways of genetic regulation.

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