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Chromosome Organization within the Nucleus

Cell Biology

  1. Wallace F. Marshall

Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

DOI: 10.1002/3527600906.mcb.200300046

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine

How to Cite

Marshall, W. F. 2006. Chromosome Organization within the Nucleus. Reviews in Cell Biology and Molecular Medicine. .

Author Information

  1. Dept. of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology Yale University, New Haven

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 SEP 2006

This is not the most recent version of the article. View current version (15 MAR 2012)


The interphase nucleus provides the structural context for chromosome biology, including gene expression and recombination. The organization of chromosomes within the nucleus is not random. Instead, chromosomes are organized by specific constraints, including interactions of specific loci with the nuclear envelope. This interaction may involve both nuclear lamins and nuclear pore complexes. Specific nuclear envelope attachments, together with a persisting remnant of the anaphase chromosome configuration, leads to chromosomes being organized into nonoverlapping territories with specific orientations. Superimposed on this organization is a high degree of chromosome mobility driven by diffusion. Because chromosomes are constrained by nuclear envelope attachments, their diffusion is constrained, with each locus able to explore only a limited subregion of the nucleus. This constrained mobility, together with the nonrandom positional organization of chromosomes, predicts a high degree of nonrandomness in the pattern of interchromosomal interactions.


  • Constrained Diffusion;
  • FISH (Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization);
  • Heterochromatin;
  • Nuclear Envelope;
  • Nuclear Matrix;
  • Rabl Configuration