Phase Separation and Correlated Motions in Motorized Genome

ZL Jiang and YF Qi and K Kamat and B Zhang, JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY B, 126, 5619-5628 (2022).

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.2c03238

The human genome is arranged in the cell nucleus nonrandomly, and phase separation has been proposed as an important driving force for genome organization. However, the cell nucleus is an active system, and the contribution of nonequilibrium activities to phase separation and genome structure and dynamics remains to be explored. We simulated the genome using an energy function parametrized with chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) data with the presence of active, nondirectional forces that break the detailed balance. We found that active forces that may arise from transcription and chromatin remodeling can dramatically impact the spatial localization of heterochromatin. When applied to euchromatin, active forces can drive heterochromatin to the nuclear envelope and compete with passive interactions among heterochromatin that tend to pull them in opposite directions. Furthermore, active forces induce long-range spatial correlations among genomic loci beyond single chromosome territories. We further showed that the impact of active forces could be understood from the effective temperature defined as the fluctuation-dissipation ratio. Our study suggests that nonequilibrium activities can significantly impact genome structure and dynamics, producing unexpected collective phenomena.

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