The spatial organization of DNA in the cell nucleus is an emerging key contributor to genomic function. We developed 4C technology (chromosome conformation capture (3C)-on-chip), which allows for an unbiased genome-wide search for DNA loci that contact a given locus in the nuclear space. We demonstrate here that active and inactive genes are engaged in many long-range intrachromosomal interactions and can also form interchromosomal contacts. The active β-globin locus in fetal liver preferentially contacts transcribed, but not necessarily tissue-specific, loci elsewhere on chromosome 7, whereas the inactive locus in fetal brain contacts different transcriptionally silent loci. A housekeeping gene in a gene-dense region on chromosome 8 forms long-range contacts predominantly with other active gene clusters, both in cis and in trans, and many of these intra- and interchromosomal interactions are conserved between the tissues analyzed. Our data demonstrate that chromosomes fold into areas of active chromatin and areas of inactive chromatin and establish 4C technology as a powerful tool to study nuclear architecture.

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Journal Nature Genetics
Simonis, M.J, Klous, P, Splinter, D, Moshkin, Y.M, Willemsen, R, de Wit, E, … de Laat, W.L. (2006). Nuclear organization of active and inactive chromatin domains uncovered by chromosome conformation capture-on-chip (4C). Nature Genetics, 38(11), 1348–1354. doi:10.1038/ng1896