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Nat Rev Genet. 2006 Sep;7(9):703-13. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Insulators: exploiting transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms.

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National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institues of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-0540, USA.


Insulators are DNA sequence elements that prevent inappropriate interactions between adjacent chromatin domains. One type of insulator establishes domains that separate enhancers and promoters to block their interaction, whereas a second type creates a barrier against the spread of heterochromatin. Recent studies have provided important advances in our understanding of the modes of action of both types of insulator. These new insights also suggest that the mechanisms of action of both enhancer blockers and barriers might not be unique to these types of element, but instead are adaptations of other gene-regulatory mechanisms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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