Interchromosomal interactions: A genomic love story of kissing chromosomes

J Cell Biol. 2019 Jan 7;218(1):27-38. doi: 10.1083/jcb.201806052. Epub 2018 Sep 4.


Nuclei require a precise three- and four-dimensional organization of DNA to establish cell-specific gene-expression programs. Underscoring the importance of DNA topology, alterations to the nuclear architecture can perturb gene expression and result in disease states. More recently, it has become clear that not only intrachromosomal interactions, but also interchromosomal interactions, a less studied feature of chromosomes, are required for proper physiological gene-expression programs. Here, we review recent studies with emerging insights into where and why cross-chromosomal communication is relevant. Specifically, we discuss how long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) and three-dimensional gene positioning are involved in genome organization and how low-throughput (live-cell imaging) and high-throughput (Hi-C and SPRITE) techniques contribute to understand the fundamental properties of interchromosomal interactions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / genetics
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Chromosome Aberrations*
  • Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • Genome*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Imaging
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*


  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, human
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • long noncoding RNA Firre, human
  • DNA