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Chromatin dynamics during interphase explored by single-particle tracking.


Our view of the structure and function of the interphase nucleus has changed drastically in recent years. It is now widely accepted that the nucleus is a well organized and highly compartmentalized organelle and that this organization is intimately related to nuclear function. In this context, chromatin-initially considered a randomly entangled polymer-has also been shown to be structurally organized in interphase and its organization was found to be very important to gene regulation. Relevant and not completely answered questions are how chromatin organization is achieved and what mechanisms are responsible for changes in the positions of chromatin loci in the nucleus. A significant advance in the field resulted from tagging chromosome sites with bacterial operator sequences, and visualizing these tags using green fluorescent protein fused with the appropriate repressor protein. Simultaneously, fluorescence imaging techniques evolved significantly during recent years, allowing observation of the time evolution of processes in living specimens. In this context, the motion of the tagged locus was observed and analyzed to extract quantitative information regarding its dynamics. This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of chromatin dynamics in interphase with the emphasis placed on the information obtained from single-particle tracking (SPT) experiments. We introduce the basis of SPT methods and trajectory analysis, and summarize what has been learnt by using this new technology in the context of chromatin dynamics. Finally, we briefly describe a method of SPT in a two-photon excitation microscope that has several advantages over methods based on conventional microscopy and review the information obtained using this novel approach to study chromatin dynamics.

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