The Physics of Epigenetics


Epigenetic regulation of gene expression involves silencing, i.e. a permanent and heritable inhibition of gene transcription (transciptional gene silencing) or translation (post-transcriptional gene silencing). The current paradigm is that gene silencing is achieved through chromatin condensation, in a so-called heterochromatinization process. Can we characterize the physical properties of heterochromatin and euchromatin? What are the physical consequences of heterochromatinization in terms of structure, dynamics and how do these physical consequences turn out into functional consequences? Histones simultaneously play a crucial role in determining the structure of chromatin; they are the substrate of a vast catalog of epigenetic markings, which is not a coincidence. This supports the hypothesis that epigenetic histone marks modulate gene expression through chromatin structural rearrangements at each level of the nuclear organization: nucleosome, chromatin fiber, chromatin loops, chromosome territories, whole nucleus.

the-physics-of-epigenetics by Ruggero Cortini et. al.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s