Cell Biology

Extraterritorial Transcription

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Science  24 May 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5572, pp. 1369
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5572.1369a

It has been thought that, within the nucleus, genes might be localized according to their level of transcriptional activity. That is, active genes would be found predominantly at the surface of chromosomal territories (the nuclear space physically occupied by the chromosome), although it is not clear to what extent the packing of the 30-nanometer chromatin fibers within territories would block entry of the transcription machinery. In order to address these issues, Mahy et al. have imaged large stretches of actively transcribing genes in human and mouse cell nuclei using fluorescence in situ hybridization. They observed a conserved spatial organization in which some of these regions were preferentially located at the periphery of chomosomal territories. Nevertheless, not all actively transcribing regions were seen at the periphery, supporting the notion that chromatin packing does not necessarily interfere with access to genes. — SMH

J. Cell Biol. 157, 579 (2002).

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