Emerging Evidence of Chromosome Folding by Loop Extrusion


Chromosome organization poses a remarkable physical problem with many biological consequences: How can molecular interactions between proteins at the nanometer scale organize micron-long chromatinized DNA molecules, insulating or facilitating interactions between specific genomic elements? The mechanism of active loop extrusion holds great promise for explaining interphase and mitotic chromosome folding, yet remains difficult to assay directly. We discuss predictions from our polymer models of loop extrusion with barrier elements and review recent experimental studies that provide strong support for loop extrusion, focusing on perturbations to CTCF and cohesin assayed via Hi-C in interphase. Finally, we discuss a likely molecular mechanism of loop extrusion by structural maintenance of chromosomes complexes.

Cold Spring Harbor Symposia on Quantitative Biology