The insulation of genes from external enhancers and silencing chromatin

Burgess-Beusse, B., Farrell, C., Gaszner, M., Litt, M., Mutskov, V., Recillas-Targa, F., Simpson, M., West, A.G. and Felsenfeld, G. (2002) The insulation of genes from external enhancers and silencing chromatin. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99(Sup. 4), pp. 16433-16437. (doi:10.1073/pnas.162342499)

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Abstract

Insulators are DNA sequence elements that can serve in some cases as barriers to protect a gene against the encroachment of adjacent inactive condensed chromatin. Some insulators also can act as blocking elements to protect against the activating influence of distal enhancers associated with other genes. Although most of the insulators identified so far derive from Drosophila, they also are found in vertebrates. An insulator at the 5′ end of the chicken β-globin locus marks a boundary between an open chromatin domain and a region of constitutively condensed chromatin. Detailed analysis of this element shows that it possesses both enhancer blocking activity and the ability to screen reporter genes against position effects. Enhancer blocking is associated with binding of the protein CTCF; sites that bind CTCF are found at other critical points in the genome. Protection against position effects involves other properties that appear to be associated with control of histone acetylation and methylation. Insulators thus are complex elements that can help to preserve the independent function of genes embedded in a genome in which they are surrounded by regulatory signals they must ignore.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:West, Dr Adam
Authors: Burgess-Beusse, B., Farrell, C., Gaszner, M., Litt, M., Mutskov, V., Recillas-Targa, F., Simpson, M., West, A.G., and Felsenfeld, G.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
ISSN:0027-8424
Published Online:01 August 2002

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