Grabbing the genome by the NADs

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology

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Biochemistry | Cell Biology | Developmental Biology | Genomics | Molecular Biology | Molecular Genetics | Structural Biology


The regions of the genome that interact frequently with the nucleolus have been termed nucleolar-associated domains (NADs). Deep sequencing and DNA-fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) experiments have revealed that these domains are enriched for repetitive elements, regions of the inactive X chromosome (Xi), and several RNA polymerase III-transcribed genes. NADs are often marked by chromatin modifications characteristic of heterochromatin, including H3K27me3, H3K9me3, and H4K20me3, and artificial targeting of genes to this area is correlated with reduced expression. It has therefore been hypothesized that NAD localization to the nucleolar periphery contributes to the establishment and/or maintenance of heterochromatic silencing. Recently published studies from several multicellular eukaryotes have begun to reveal the trans-acting factors involved in NAD localization, including the insulator protein CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), chromatin assembly factor (CAF)-1 subunit p150, several nucleolar proteins, and two long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs). The mechanisms by which these factors coordinate with one another in regulating NAD localization and/or silencing are still unknown. This review will summarize recently published studies, discuss where additional research is required, and speculate about the mechanistic and functional implications of genome organization around the nucleolus.

DOI of Published Version



Chromosoma. 2015 Jul 15. [Epub ahead of print] Link to article on publisher's site

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