Polymer models of the hierarchical folding of the Hox-B chromosomal locus

C Annunziatella and AM Chiariello and S Bianco and M Nicodemi, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 94, 042402 (2016).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.94.042402

As revealed by novel technologies, chromosomes in the nucleus of mammalian cells have a complex spatial organization that serves vital functional purposes. Here we use models from polymer physics to identify the mechanisms that control their three-dimensional spatial organization. In particular, we investigate a model of the Hox-B locus, an important genomic region involved in embryo development, to expose the principles regulating chromatin folding and its complex behaviors in mouse embryonic stem cells. We reconstruct with high accuracy the pairwise contact matrix of the Hox-B locus as derived by Hi-C experiments and investigate its hierarchical folding dynamics. We trace back the observed behaviors to general scaling properties of polymer physics.

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