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J Cell Biol. 2004 Sep 13;166(6):815-25.

Transcription-dependent spatial arrangements of CFTR and adjacent genes in human cell nuclei.

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Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Department of Biology II, 80336 Munich, Germany.


We investigated in different human cell types nuclear positioning and transcriptional regulation of the functionally unrelated genes GASZ, CFTR, and CORTBP2, mapping to adjacent loci on human chromosome 7q31. When inactive, GASZ, CFTR, and CORTBP2 preferentially associated with the nuclear periphery and with perinuclear heterochromatin, whereas in their actively transcribed states the gene loci preferentially associated with euchromatin in the nuclear interior. Adjacent genes associated simultaneously with these distinct chromatin fractions localizing at different nuclear regions, in accordance with their individual transcriptional regulation. Although the nuclear localization of CFTR changed after altering its transcription levels, the transcriptional status of CFTR was not changed by driving this gene into a different nuclear environment. This implied that the transcriptional activity affected the nuclear positioning, and not vice versa. Together, the results show that small chromosomal subregions can display highly flexible nuclear organizations that are regulated at the level of individual genes in a transcription-dependent manner.

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