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Development. 2012 Mar;139(6):1045-57. doi: 10.1242/dev.065268.

CTCF: insights into insulator function during development.

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  • 1Institut für Genetik, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen, Heinrich-Buff-Ring 58-62, 35392 Giessen, Germany.


The genome of higher eukaryotes exhibits a patchwork of inactive and active genes. The nuclear protein CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) when bound to insulator sequences can prevent undesirable crosstalk between active and inactive genomic regions, and it can also shield particular genes from enhancer function, a role that has many applications in development. Exciting recent work has demonstrated roles for CTCF in, for example, embryonic, neuronal and haematopoietic development. Here, we discuss the underlying mechanisms of developmentally regulated CTCF-dependent transcription in relation to model genes, and highlight genome-wide results indicating that CTCF might play a master role in regulating both activating and repressive transcription events at sites throughout the genome.

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