Active genes dynamically colocalize to shared sites of ongoing transcription

Nat Genet. 2004 Oct;36(10):1065-71. doi: 10.1038/ng1423. Epub 2004 Sep 7.


The intranuclear position of many genes has been correlated with their activity state, suggesting that migration to functional subcompartments may influence gene expression. Indeed, nascent RNA production and RNA polymerase II seem to be localized into discrete foci or 'transcription factories'. Current estimates from cultured cells indicate that multiple genes could occupy the same factory, although this has not yet been observed. Here we show that, during transcription in vivo, distal genes colocalize to the same transcription factory at high frequencies. Active genes are dynamically organized into shared nuclear subcompartments, and movement into or out of these factories results in activation or abatement of transcription. Thus, rather than recruiting and assembling transcription complexes, active genes migrate to preassembled transcription sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Globins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Mice
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Uroporphyrinogen III Synthetase / genetics


  • AHSP protein, human
  • Blood Proteins
  • KCNQ1OT1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor II
  • Globins
  • RNA Polymerase II
  • Uroporphyrinogen III Synthetase