Shaking Up Genome Regulation

A Berkeley Lab team led by Dr. Gary Karpen, Adjunct Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, "uncovered evidence that heterochromatin organizes large parts of the genome into specific regions of the nucleus using liquid-liquid phase separation, a mechanism well-known in physics but whose importance for biology has only recently been revealed."


Image: Gene expression is regulated in part by liquid-liquid phase separation, which has a role in organizing heterochomatin domains. The mouse fibroblast cells shown in this image express HP1alpha, the human version of heterochromatin protein 1a. Notice the presence of liquid droplets in the nucleus, which are visible thanks to a technique that highlights edges between two liquid phases. [Amy Strom/Berkeley Lab]