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Nuclear architecture in nocturnal animals – Review by Irina Solovei and colleagues

Trends in Cell Biology (2020) 30 (4): 276-289


Viewing Nuclear Architecture through the Eyes of Nocturnal Mammals

Yana Feodorova, Martin Falk, Leonid A. Mirny, Irina Solovei

Trends in Cell Biology (2020) Volume 30 (4): 276-289. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcb.2019.12.008

Abstract cited directly from the publication:

The cell nucleus is a remarkably well-organized organelle with membraneless but distinct compartments of various functions. The largest of them, euchromatin and heterochromatin, are spatially segregated in such a way that the transcriptionally active genome occupies the nuclear interior, whereas silent genomic loci are preferentially associated with the nuclear envelope. This rule is broken by rod photoreceptor cells of nocturnal mammals, in which the two major compartments have inverted positions. The inversion and dense compaction of heterochromatin converts these nuclei into microlenses that focus light and facilitate nocturnal vision. As is often the case in biology, when a mutation helps to understand normal processes and structures, inverted nuclei have served as a tool to unravel general principles of nuclear organization, including mechanisms of heterochromatin tethering to the nuclear envelope, autonomous behavior of small genomic segments, and euchromatin–heterochromatin segregation.