Chromatin's physical properties shape the nucleus and its functions.

Affiliation

Department of Molecular Biosciences, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, United States. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

The cell nucleus encloses, organizes, and protects the genome. Chromatin maintains nuclear mechanical stability and shape in coordination with lamins and the cytoskeleton. Abnormal nuclear shape is a diagnostic marker for human diseases, and it can cause nuclear dysfunction. Chromatin mechanics underlies this link, as alterations to chromatin and its physical properties can disrupt or rescue nuclear shape. The cell can regulate nuclear shape through mechanotransduction pathways that sense and respond to extracellular cues, thus modulating chromatin compaction and rigidity. These findings reveal how chromatin's physical properties can regulate cellular function and drive abnormal nuclear morphology and dysfunction in disease.

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