eric c schirmer
University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Specialty Chief Editor
Nuclear Organization and Dynamics
The nucleus is non-randomly organized and disrupting this organization can lead to disease; however, the exact functions that follow from nuclear organization and how it changes in development or in response to stimuli remain hotly debated. The Nuclear Organization and Dynamics section aims to publish innovative research leading to significant insights across the wide scope of this area with particular focus on the functional consequences for a particular organization or how it changes at 3 levels of genome structure: local organization of chromatin, nuclear bodies, and the overall 3D structural organization of the nucleus. In addition, as the nuclear envelope integrates many signals for genome organization both mechanically and through regulation of transport and signal transduction pathways, this Section will also consider research on this structure and how it connects not just to the genome but also to the rest of the cell.
Local chromatin organization
The genome is organized by different folding and linear organization of DNA and chromatin. Most of this research area focuses on epigenetic regulation of genome compaction or accessibility and such studies are a more appropriate fit for the section Epigenomics and Epigenetics. However, studies relating local genome folding to 3D nuclear structure are welcome: for example how nuclear envelope tethering alters tension/folding of DNA, or what drives specific enhancer-gene regulatory pairings within the larger genome.
Nuclear bodies/ regions
At its most fundamental level, nuclear functions are segregated into distinct nuclear bodies/ regions such as the nucleolus, Cajal bodies, coiled bodies, PML/ND10 bodies, speckles, NPCs, and nuclear lamina. These bodies/regions generally segregate by both chemical properties and affinities of their components because, unlike the cytoplasm where functions can be segregated by membrane-bound compartments, in the nucleus various functions need access to engage with particular chromosome regions in a dynamic fashion. This new section will highlight insights into how these bodies are generated and maintained, how they move within the nucleus in support of their function, and how they change under different conditions.
Global 3D genome organization
Gene-enhancer and other regulatory interactions can occur within a local region of the same chromosome or from interactions between different chromosomes. Tissue-specific patterns of global genome organization can influence whether a particular regulatory interaction occurs. Additionally, rapid changes in this kind of genome organization in response to stimuli have been observed. This section will accept both focused studies detailing the mechanisms behind achieving/ maintaining/ changing a particular locus positioning within the nucleus and global studies such as using Hi-C or DamID to map changes that occur and identify proteins involved in larger-scale genome organization. Studies on what controls the spatial positioning in the nucleus of chromosome regions (e.g. telomeres in the Rabl configuration) and nuclear bodies will also be welcome as will studies identifying the myriad other functions for genome organization yet to be discovered.
The nuclear envelope
The nuclear envelope is the single distinguishing feature of all eukaryotes and the most stable nuclear structure, yet its composition changes dramatically between cell types and in higher eukaryotes it completely disassembles and reassembles at each mitosis. In addition to its connections to the genome and contributions to gene regulation covered in the two above subsections, the nuclear envelope also connects to the cytoskeleton. These connections enable mechanosignal transduction to the genome, nuclear migration within myofibers to neuromuscular junctions, nuclear orientation in polarized/ secreting cells, cell migration, and many other functions. Notably, while it is clear that these connections contribute to the overall mechanical stability of the cell, it remains unclear to what extent the cytoskeleton versus the chromatin in the nucleus contribute to buffering mechanical forces on the cell.
Please consider the quality and content requirements for experimental studies as listed below:
1) Descriptive studies that do not lead to new insights will not be considered. For example, simply performing Hi-C in a new cell type would not be of interest while investigating how Hi-C profiles change during development or in response to relevant environmental stimuli would be of interest.
2) Studies describing new phenomena must be carefully controlled to ensure they are not tissue culture artefacts unique to cancer cell lines.
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Nuclear Organization and Dynamics welcomes submissions of the following article types: Brief Research Report, Correction, Data Report, Editorial, General Commentary, Hypothesis & Theory, Methods, Mini Review, Opinion, Original Research, Perspective, Review, Technology and Code.
All manuscripts must be submitted directly to the section Nuclear Organization and Dynamics, where they are peer-reviewed by the Associate and Review Editors of the specialty section.
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