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Genes 2017, 8(10), 279; doi:10.3390/genes8100279

Potential Role of Phase Separation of Repetitive DNA in Chromosomal Organization

Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
Received: 23 August 2017 / Revised: 7 October 2017 / Accepted: 13 October 2017 / Published: 18 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chromosomal Evolution)
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Abstract

The basic principles of chromosomal organization in eukaryotic cells remain elusive. Current mainstream research efforts largely concentrate on searching for critical packaging proteins involved in organizing chromosomes. I have taken a different perspective, by considering the role of genomic information in chromatins. In particular, I put forward the concept that repetitive DNA elements are key chromosomal packaging modules, and their intrinsic property of homology-based interaction can drive chromatin folding. Many repetitive DNA families have high copy numbers and clustered distribution patterns in the linear genomes. These features may facilitate the interactions among members in the same repeat families. In this paper, the potential liquid–liquid phase transition of repetitive DNAs that is induced by their extensive interaction in chromosomes will be considered. I propose that the interaction among repetitive DNAs may lead to phase separation of interacting repetitive DNAs from bulk chromatins. Phase separation of repetitive DNA may provide a physical mechanism that drives rapid massive changes of chromosomal conformation. View Full-Text
Keywords: repetitive DNA; ‘junk’ DNA; repeat assembly; chromosome; chromatin; phase separation; CORE theory; membrane-less organelle repetitive DNA; ‘junk’ DNA; repeat assembly; chromosome; chromatin; phase separation; CORE theory; membrane-less organelle
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Tang, S.-J. Potential Role of Phase Separation of Repetitive DNA in Chromosomal Organization. Genes 2017, 8, 279.

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