Crowding-induced formation and structural alteration of nuclear compartments: Insights from computer simulations

Jun Soo Kim, Igal Szleifer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Our understanding of the structural and dynamical characteristics of nuclear structures such as chromosomes and nuclear bodies (NBs) has increased significantly in recent days owing to advances in biophysical and biochemical techniques. These techniques include the use of computer simulations, which have provided further physical insights complementary to findings from experiments. In this chapter, we review recent computer simulation studies on the structural alteration of chromosome subcompartments and the formation and maintenance of NBs in the highly crowded cell nucleus. It is found that because of macromolecular crowding, the degree of chromosome compaction changes significantly and the formation of NBs is facilitated. We further discuss the physical consequences of these phenomena, which may be of critical importance in understanding genome processes.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages36
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameInternational Review of Cell and Molecular Biology
ISSN (Print)1937-6448

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Prof. Arun Yethiraj for providing simulation data for Fig. 4.1 B. J. S. K. acknowledges support by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) under Grant Nos. NRF-2011-0024621 and NRF-2011-220-C00030. J. S. K. also acknowledges support by the Ewha Womans University Research Grant 2011. I. S. acknowledges financial support from the National Science Foundation under Grant EFRI CBET-0937987 and Grant EAGER CBET-1249311. I. S. also acknowledges support from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number U54CA143869. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.


  • Chromosome subcompartments
  • Computer simulation
  • Crowding
  • Nuclear bodies
  • Nuclear structures


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