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Chromatin has a complex spatial organization in the cell nucleus that serves vital functional purposes. A variety of chromatin folding conformations has been detected by single-cell imaging and chromosome conformation capture-based approaches. However, a unified quantitative framework describing spatial chromatin organization is still lacking. Here, we(More)
In mammals, dosage compensation of X linked genes in female cells is achieved by inactivation of one of their two X chromosomes which is randomly chosen. The earliest steps in X-chromosome inactivation (XCI), namely, the mechanism whereby cells count their X chromosomes and choose between two equivalent X chromosomes, remain mysterious. Starting from the(More)
A variety of important cellular processes require, for functional purposes, the colocalization of multiple DNA loci at specific time points. In most cases, the physical mechanisms responsible for bringing them in close proximity are still elusive. Here we show that the interaction of DNA loci with a concentration of diffusing molecular factors can induce(More)
Mammalian chromosomes fold into arrays of megabase-sized topologically associating domains (TADs), which are arranged into compartments spanning multiple megabases of genomic DNA. TADs have internal substructures that are often cell type specific, but their higher-order organization remains elusive. Here, we investigate TAD higher-order interactions with(More)
At the onset of X-chromosome inactivation, the vital process whereby female mammalian cells equalize X products with respect to males, the X chromosomes are colocalized along their Xic (X-inactivation center) regions. The mechanism inducing recognition and pairing of the X's remains, though, elusive. Starting from recent discoveries on the molecular factors(More)
The architecture of the eukaryotic genome is characterized by a high degree of spatial organization. Chromosomes occupy preferred territories correlated to their state of activity and, yet, displace their genes to interact with remote sites in complex patterns requiring the orchestration of a huge number of DNA loci and molecular regulators. Far from(More)
Understanding the mechanisms that control chromosome folding in the nucleus of eukaryotes and their contribution to gene regulation is a key open issue in molecular biology. Microscopy and chromatin-capture techniques have shown that chromatin has a complex organization, which dynamically changes across organisms and cell types. The need to make sense of(More)
Granular materials are of substantial importance in many industrial and natural processes, yet their complex behaviours, ranging from mechanical properties of static packing to their dynamics, rheology and instabilities, are still poorly understood. Here we focus on the dynamics of compaction and its 'jamming' phenomena, outlining recent statistical(More)
A general model for the early recognition and colocalization of homologous DNA sequences is proposed. We show, on thermodynamic grounds, how the distance between two homologous DNA sequences is spontaneously regulated by the concentration and affinity of diffusible mediators binding them, which act as a switch between two phases corresponding to(More)
In the cell nucleus, chromosomes have a complex spatial organization, spanning several length scales, which serves vital functional purposes. It is unknown, however, how their three-dimensional architecture is orchestrated. In the present article, we review the application of a model based on classical polymer physics, the strings and binders switch model,(More)