Research Topic

Chromatin Spatial Configuration and Function in Metazoans

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About this Research Topic

The spatial folding and localization of the chromatin fiber within the nuclear space has emerged as a fundamental layer, contributing to DNA metabolic control impacting transcription, replication, and repair. Different chromatin structures are evident at different genomic scales; chromosomes occupy discrete ...

The spatial folding and localization of the chromatin fiber within the nuclear space has emerged as a fundamental layer, contributing to DNA metabolic control impacting transcription, replication, and repair. Different chromatin structures are evident at different genomic scales; chromosomes occupy discrete territories with preferred radial positioning and are partitioned in the nuclear space into heterochromatin and euchromatin segregated compartments.

At the sub-megabase genomic scale, chromatin contact and loop domains with different characteristics are readily detectable. The molecular mechanisms behind chromatin organization have not been fully characterized, and there are still many questions concerning the mechanisms and molecules underlying chromatin structure and function, and if these are shared across metazoans or present only in particular Phyla.

A range of factors including structural proteins, transcription factors, histone modifications, and RNA molecules have been implicated in chromatin folding at different scales. For example, chromatin loops and domains in mammalian organisms are the results of chromatin fiber extrusion by the Cohesin complex, however, in Drosophila melanogaster, these mechanisms are apparently not in place. Instead, several architectural proteins are needed to fold the genome in Drosophila and many of them do not seem to have a mammalian counterpart. Also, a comprehensive characterization of the function of chromatin structure associated with transcriptional regulation during development in different organisms is still missing and there is a lack of information regarding metazoans that are not so commonly used in the laboratories.

In this Research Topic, we aim to gather new findings and reviews highlighting the molecular mechanisms and functions of 3D chromatin structure across metazoans with an emphasis on the differences and coincidences in mechanisms and molecules between Phyla. Original research manuscript, brief reports, mini-reviews, and reviews are welcomed. Some of the potential topics include but not limited to:

- Chromatin structure and function in different Phyla
- Conservation and divergence in the chromatin folding molecular machinery
- Molecules and mechanisms of heterochromatin and euchromatin formation
- Chromatin structure and function during development
- Defects in chromatin structure leading to disease


Keywords: chromatin, genome 3D organization, enhancers, metazoans, transcription


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