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J Mol Biol. 2006 Mar 17;357(1):18-27. Epub 2006 Jan 9.

Sea urchin arylsulfatase insulator exerts its anti-silencing effect without interacting with the nuclear matrix.

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Laboratory of Virus Immunology, Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.


Chromatin insulators have been shown to stabilize transgene expression. Although insulators have been suggested to regulate the subcellular localization of chromosomes, it is still unclear whether this property is important for their anti-silencing activity. To investigate the underlying mechanisms governing the anti-silencing function of insulators, we studied the association of sea urchin arylsulfatase insulator (ArsI) with the nuclear matrix, which is a key component of the subnuclear localization of the genome. ArsI did not potentiate the nuclear matrix association with the transgene, even though it showed strong anti-silencing activity. This observation was in clear contrast to the results of the experiment using a human interferon-beta scaffold attachment region, in which the anti-silencing effect coincided with the enhanced matrix association. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses suggested that the absence of the matrix binding by ArsI was due to a lack of its binding to CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), a protein known to be associated with matrix binding by chicken beta-globin insulator. Furthermore, ArsI maintained the nucleosome occupancy within the transgene at a constant level during long-term culture, although ArsI itself was not a nucleosome-excluding sequence. Taken together, these results suggest that this insulator exerts its anti-silencing activity by counteracting silencing-associated factors to maintain local chromatin environment, rather than by remodeling the subnuclear localization of the transgene locus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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