About this Research Topic
Chromatin architecture is a key regulator of cellular functions and developmental processes and is tightly controlled by the activity of a wide array of factors involved in gene expression and genome maintenance. A multitude of biochemical and molecular signaling cascades orchestrate structural and conformational changes of the chromatin, thereby affecting transcriptional patterns and cellular outcome. Mechanotransduction, which enables an external force applied to a cell to impact gene transcription, may also play a central role in the alterations of chromatin architecture. Mis-regulation of these processes is often associated with a range of diseases that include laminopathies, autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia, bone and cartilage disorders and developmental delays. A significant hurdle in the study of chromatin architecture has been the dynamic nature of the chromatin structure and the ever growing diversity and chromatin modification signatures.
Despite their relevance in tissue development in vivo, the mechanisms governing the interactions between the cytoskeleton and nucleus during mechanotransduction have not yet been fully elucidated. Measurements of pan-nuclear dynamics may provide further insights and novel research angles to basic cellular and developmental biology. To advance our understanding of such complex and intricate signaling network, population-based studies, light imaging microscopy, single cell microfluidic approaches as well as advanced sequencing and other molecular techniques have been developed. Yet an emerging field that may provide new tools for chromatin research is vibrational spectroscopy-based chemical imaging. Label-free characterization of vibrational modes in molecules that are specific as a chemical fingerprint and provide the chemical composition and heterogeneity of a sample, has gained increased traction recently. Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) and Raman microscopy techniques have been shown to be powerful biochemical tools for monitoring DNA conformational changes and studying chromatin architecture. Developing novel approaches and/or combining vibrational imaging with other tools such as microfluidics to assess chromatin structure and conformation at the single cell level could enable a more comprehensive understanding of chromatin architecture dynamics.
The aim of this Research Topic is to showcase recent and novel research trends in the chromatin architecture field. Areas to be covered may include, but are not limited to:
• Development of novel microfluidics and flow cytometry approaches
• Application of chemical specific imaging techniques in the study of the chromatin architecture
• Measurement of the interaction between cytoskeleton and nucleus during mechanotransduction
• Contactless strategies to probe cellular and nuclear mechanics (e.g. Brillouin microscopy)
• DNA, RNA and related single molecules conformation and dynamics probing
• Advanced single cell proteomic techniques that could identify potential chromatin architecture signatures
Keywords: Chromatin, Nuclear Architecture, Conformation, Decondensation, Activation, Maturation, Microfluidics, Label-Free Imaging
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