Tissue‐specific Locus Control: Structure and Function

Abstract

All developmental processes involve decisions in which the developmental fate of precursor cells is restricted to a single lineage by establishing a unique gene expression pattern. The activation at each of these gene loci involves restructuring chromatin as a necessary prerequisite for the assembly of the transcription apparatus. Tissue‐specific locus activation is controlled by the interplay between sequence‐specific transcription factors, chromatin‐modifying activities and basic chromatin components.

Keywords: gene locus activation; transcriptional control elements; histones; nucleosomes; chromatin; position effect; globin

Figure 1.

Organization of the human β‐globin cluster on chromosome 11 (top) and the human α‐globin cluster on chromosome 16 (bottom). Functional genes are indicated as boxes. DNAaseI hypersensitive sites that mark the positions of cis‐regulatory elements such as promoters (P) or enhancers (E) are indicated as vertical arrows. The top and bottom diagrams depict the chromosomal organization of globin and nonglobin genes.

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Further Reading

Bonifer C (2000) Developmental regulation of eukaryotic gene loci: which cis‐regulatory information is required? Trends in Genetics 16: 310–315.

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Bonifer, Constanze(Sep 2007) Tissue‐specific Locus Control: Structure and Function. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. http://www.els.net [doi: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0005292.pub2]