Chromatin conformation signatures: ideal human disease biomarkers?

Biomark Med. 2010 Aug;4(4):611-29. doi: 10.2217/bmm.10.68.


Human health is related to information stored in our genetic code, which is highly variable even amongst healthy individuals. Gene expression is orchestrated by numerous control elements that may be located anywhere in the genome, and can regulate distal genes by physically interacting with them. These DNA contacts can be mapped with the chromosome conformation capture and related technologies. Several studies now demonstrate that gene expression patterns are associated with specific chromatin structures, and may therefore correlate with chromatin conformation signatures. Here, we present an overview of genome organization and its relationship with gene expression. We also summarize how chromatin conformation signatures can be identified and discuss why they might represent ideal biomarkers of human disease in such genetically diverse populations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / analysis*
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromosomes, Human / chemistry*
  • Chromosomes, Human / genetics
  • Disease / genetics*
  • Gene Expression
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*


  • Biomarkers
  • Chromatin