Gene positioning and expression

Curr Opin Cell Biol. 2011 Jun;23(3):338-45. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2011 Feb 1.


Within the nucleus, the genome is spatially organized. Individual chromosomes are non-randomly positioned with respect to each other and with respect to nuclear landmarks [1,2]. Furthermore, the position of individual genes can reflect their expression. Here we discuss two well-characterized examples of gene relocalization associated with transcriptional activation: 1) developmentally regulated genes that move from the nuclear periphery to transcription factories in the nucleoplasm upon induction and 2) genes that are targeted from the nucleoplasm to the nuclear periphery, through interactions with the nuclear pore complex (NPC), upon activation. Finally, we speculate as to the mechanistic and functional commonalities of these phenomena.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Order*
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Pore / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Nuclear Proteins