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Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2014 Jun;28:90-5. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2014 May 4.

Models of chromosome structure.

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Universita' di Napoli "Federico II", Dipartimento di Fisica, INFN Sezione di Napoli, CNR-SPIN, Complesso Universitario di Monte S. Angelo, Via Cintia, 80126 Napoli, Italy. Electronic address:
Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology, Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine, Robert Rössle Strasse 10, 13125 Berlin-Buch, Germany. Electronic address:


Understanding the mechanisms that control chromosome folding in the nucleus of eukaryotes and their contribution to gene regulation is a key open issue in molecular biology. Microscopy and chromatin-capture techniques have shown that chromatin has a complex organization, which dynamically changes across organisms and cell types. The need to make sense of such a fascinating complexity has prompted the development of quantitative models from physics, to find the principles of chromosome folding, its origin and function. Here, we concisely review recent advances in chromosome modeling, focusing on a recently proposed framework, the Strings & Binders Switch (SBS) model, which recapitulates key features of chromosome organization in space and time.

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