Spanish and German scientists have offered insights into the 3-D genomics of the human nucleolus.
The research, conducted by researchers from the University of Regensburg and the Ludwig Maximilians University in Germany and the Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe in Spain, sheds new light on the functional organization of human genetic material.
Scientists have had difficulty to understand how the genome is organized inside the cell's nucleus to fulfill the dynamics and regulation of DNA access to regulatory factors.
Previous studies on the nuclear architecture of the cell suggest that the three-dimensional structure of genomic information is non-random.
However, few discrete genomic loci have been analyzed for their spatial location, prompting the current study.
The researchers, led by Attila Nemeth and Gernot Langst, examined the DNA network of the nucleolus, the nucleus' largest sub-compartment, using sequencing, microarray analysis, and single-cell analysis.
The work resulted in a high-resolution sequence map of this nuclear structure, detailing the position of the several thousand genes and non-coding sequences that form the nucleolus within the three-dimensional space of the nucleus.
"The results help us understand how nuclear information is packaged into functional compartments of the nucleus," say the authors.
The authors also emphasise that the research was confined to just two cell types, and that further studies are needed to address the conservation of these packaging mechanisms during evolution, and to monitor the developmental dynamics of three-dimensional genome organization.
The research has been published in the open-access journal PLoS Genetics.