From a melt of rings to chromosome territories: the role of topological constraints in genome folding

Rep Prog Phys. 2014;77(2):022601. doi: 10.1088/0034-4885/77/2/022601. Epub 2014 Jan 28.


We review pro and contra of the hypothesis that generic polymer properties of topological constraints are behind many aspects of chromatin folding in eukaryotic cells. For that purpose, we review, first, recent theoretical and computational findings in polymer physics related to concentrated, topologically simple (unknotted and unlinked) chains or a system of chains. Second, we review recent experimental discoveries related to genome folding. Understanding in these fields is far from complete, but we show how looking at them in parallel sheds new light on both.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biopolymers / chemistry
  • Biopolymers / genetics
  • Biopolymers / metabolism
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Conformation*


  • Biopolymers