Enhancer and promoter interactions-long distance calls

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2012 Apr;22(2):79-85. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.11.001. Epub 2011 Dec 12.


In metazoans, enhancers of gene transcription must often exert their effects over tens of kilobases of DNA. Over the past decade it has become clear that to do this, enhancers come into close proximity with target promoters with the looping away of intervening sequences. In a few cases proteins that are involved in the establishment or maintenance of these loops have been revealed but how the proper gene target is selected remains mysterious. Chromatin insulators had been appreciated as elements that play a role in enhancer fidelity through their enhancer blocking or barrier activity. However, recent work suggests more direct participation of insulators in enhancer-gene interactions. The emerging view begins to incorporate transcription activation by distant enhancers with large scale nuclear architecture and subnuclear movement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Humans
  • Models, Genetic
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • RNA, Untranslated / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • RNA, Untranslated