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Cell. 2017 Mar 23;169(1):13-23. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.007.

A Phase Separation Model for Transcriptional Control.

Author information

1
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.
3
Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, 9 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address: young@wi.mit.edu.
4
Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Department of Physics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Department of Chemistry, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Institute for Medical Engineering & Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address: arupc@mit.edu.
5
Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA. Electronic address: sharppa@mit.edu.

Abstract

Phase-separated multi-molecular assemblies provide a general regulatory mechanism to compartmentalize biochemical reactions within cells. We propose that a phase separation model explains established and recently described features of transcriptional control. These features include the formation of super-enhancers, the sensitivity of super-enhancers to perturbation, the transcriptional bursting patterns of enhancers, and the ability of an enhancer to produce simultaneous activation at multiple genes. This model provides a conceptual framework to further explore principles of gene control in mammals.

KEYWORDS:

bursting; co-operativity; enhancer; gene control; nuclear body; phase separation; super-enhancer; transcription; transcriptional burst

PMID:
28340338
PMCID:
PMC5432200
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2017.02.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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