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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2009 Apr;19(2):172-9. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2009.02.007. Epub 2009 Mar 30.

Nuclear neighborhoods and gene expression.

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Molecular and Cellular Biology Program, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA.


The eukaryotic nucleus is a highly compartmentalized and dynamic environment. Chromosome territories are arranged nonrandomly within the nucleus and numerous studies have indicated that a gene's position in the nucleus can impact its transcriptional activity. Here, we focus on recent advances in our understanding of the influence of specific nuclear neighborhoods on gene expression or repression. Nuclear neighborhoods associated with transcriptional repression include the inner nuclear membrane/nuclear lamina and perinucleolar chromatin, whereas neighborhoods surrounding the nuclear pore complex, PML nuclear bodies, and nuclear speckles seem to be transcriptionally permissive. While nuclear position appears to play an important role in gene expression, it is likely to be only one piece of a flexible puzzle that incorporates numerous parameters. We are still at a very early, yet exciting stage in our journey toward deciphering the mechanism(s) that govern(s) the permissiveness of gene expression/repression within different nuclear neighborhoods.

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