ATP, Mg2+, Nuclear Phase Separation, and Genome Accessibility

Trends Biochem Sci. 2019 Jul;44(7):565-574. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2019.03.001. Epub 2019 May 6.


Misregulation of the processes controlling eukaryotic gene expression can result in disease. Gene expression is influenced by the surrounding chromatin; hence the nuclear environment is also of vital importance. Recently, understanding of chromatin hierarchical folding has increased together with the discovery of membrane-less organelles which are distinct, dynamic liquid droplets that merge and expand within the nucleus. These 'sieve'-like regions may compartmentalize and separate functionally distinct regions of chromatin. This article aims to discuss recent studies on nuclear phase within the context of poly(ADP-ribose), ATP, and Mg2+ levels, and we propose a combinatorial complex role for these molecules in phase separation and genome regulation. We also discuss the implications of this process for gene regulation and discuss possible strategies to test this.

Keywords: 3D genome topology; PARylation; chromatin dynamics; gene regulation; magnesium; membrane-less organelles; nuclear ATP; phase separation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / metabolism*


  • Chromatin
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Magnesium