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PLoS One. 2013 Nov 14;8(11):e79262. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0079262. eCollection 2013.

Molecular characterization of a human matrix attachment region epigenetic regulator.

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Laboratory of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute of Biotechnology, University of Lausanne, and Center for Biotechnology UNIL-EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland.


Matrix attachment regions (MAR) generally act as epigenetic regulatory sequences that increase gene expression, and they were proposed to partition chromosomes into loop-forming domains. However, their molecular mode of action remains poorly understood. Here, we assessed the possible contribution of the AT-rich core and adjacent transcription factor binding motifs to the transcription augmenting and anti-silencing effects of human MAR 1-68. Either flanking sequences together with the AT-rich core were required to obtain the full MAR effects. Shortened MAR derivatives retaining full MAR activity were constructed from combinations of the AT-rich sequence and multimerized transcription factor binding motifs, implying that both transcription factors and the AT-rich microsatellite sequence are required to mediate the MAR effect. Genomic analysis indicated that MAR AT-rich cores may be depleted of histones and enriched in RNA polymerase II, providing a molecular interpretation of their chromatin domain insulator and transcriptional augmentation activities.

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