The dynamics of chromosome organization and gene regulation

Annu Rev Biochem. 2003;72:573-608. doi: 10.1146/annurev.biochem.72.121801.161724.


With the sequence of the human genome now complete, studies must focus on how the genome is functionally organized within the confines of the cell nucleus and the dynamic interplay between the genome and its regulatory factors to effectively control gene expression and silencing. In this review I describe our current state of knowledge with regard to the organization of chromosomes within the nucleus and the positioning of active versus inactive genes. In addition, I discuss studies on the dynamics of chromosomes and specific genetic loci within living cells and its relationship to gene activity and the cell cycle. Furthermore, our current understanding of the distribution and dynamics of RNA polymerase II transcription factors is discussed in relation to chromosomal loci and other nuclear domains.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure*
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genome
  • Humans
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Transcription Factors
  • RNA Polymerase II