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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2014;307:443-79. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-800046-5.00013-8.

Relevance and limitations of crowding, fractal, and polymer models to describe nuclear architecture.

Author information

1
CNRS, UMR 6290, Institut Génétique et Développement de Rennes, Rennes, France; Université Rennes 1, Université Européenne de Bretagne, Structure fédérative de recherche, Biosit, Faculté de Médecine, Rennes, France; CNRS GDR 3536, University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France.
2
CNRS GDR 3536, University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France; National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France; CNRS UMR 7196, Paris, France; INSERM U565, Paris, France.
3
CNRS GDR 3536, University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France; CNRS, LAAS, Toulouse, France; Université de Toulouse, LAAS, Toulouse, France.
4
CNRS GDR 3536, University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France; LPTMC UMR 7600, CNRS, Université Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France.
5
CNRS GDR 3536, University Pierre et Marie Curie-Paris 6, Paris, France; CNRS, LAAS, Toulouse, France; Université de Toulouse, LAAS, Toulouse, France. Electronic address: abancaud@laas.fr.

Abstract

Chromosome architecture plays an essential role for all nuclear functions, and its physical description has attracted considerable interest over the last few years among the biophysics community. These researches at the frontiers of physics and biology have been stimulated by the demand for quantitative analysis of molecular biology experiments, which provide comprehensive data on chromosome folding, or of live cell imaging experiments that enable researchers to visualize selected chromosome loci in living or fixed cells. In this review our goal is to survey several nonmutually exclusive models that have emerged to describe the folding of DNA in the nucleus, the dynamics of proteins in the nucleoplasm, or the movements of chromosome loci. We focus on three classes of models, namely molecular crowding, fractal, and polymer models, draw comparisons, and discuss their merits and limitations in the context of chromosome structure and dynamics, or nuclear protein navigation in the nucleoplasm. Finally, we identify future challenges in the roadmap to a unified model of the nuclear environment.

KEYWORDS:

Chromatin; Chromosome; DNA; Fractal model; Molecular crowding; Nuclear architecture; Polymer model

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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