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J Cell Physiol. 2014 Jun;229(6):711-27. doi: 10.1002/jcp.24508.

The dynamic architectural and epigenetic nuclear landscape: developing the genomic almanac of biology and disease.

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Department of Biochemistry and Vermont Cancer Center, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, Vermont.


Compaction of the eukaryotic genome into the confined space of the cell nucleus must occur faithfully throughout each cell cycle to retain gene expression fidelity. For decades, experimental limitations to study the structural organization of the interphase nucleus restricted our understanding of its contributions towards gene regulation and disease. However, within the past few years, our capability to visualize chromosomes in vivo with sophisticated fluorescence microscopy, and to characterize chromosomal regulatory environments via massively parallel sequencing methodologies have drastically changed how we currently understand epigenetic gene control within the context of three-dimensional nuclear structure. The rapid rate at which information on nuclear structure is unfolding brings challenges to compare and contrast recent observations with historic findings. In this review, we discuss experimental breakthroughs that have influenced how we understand and explore the dynamic structure and function of the nucleus, and how we can incorporate historical perspectives with insights acquired from the ever-evolving advances in molecular biology and pathology.

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