CTCF: an architectural protein bridging genome topology and function

Nat Rev Genet. 2014 Apr;15(4):234-46. doi: 10.1038/nrg3663. Epub 2014 Mar 11.


The eukaryotic genome is organized in the three-dimensional nuclear space in a specific manner that is both a cause and a consequence of its function. This organization is partly established by a special class of architectural proteins, of which CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) is the best characterized. Although CTCF has been assigned various roles that are often contradictory, new results now help to draw a unifying model to explain the many functions of this protein. CTCF creates boundaries between topologically associating domains in chromosomes and, within these domains, facilitates interactions between transcription regulatory sequences. Thus, CTCF links the architecture of the genome to its function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Consensus Sequence
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Multigene Family
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, human
  • Chromatin
  • Repressor Proteins