2Biological Faculty, Lomonosov Moscow State University, 119991 Moscow, Russia
* To whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received June 17, 2010; Revision received July 14, 2010
The phenomenon of association of transcribed genes into so-called transcription factories and also the role of these associations in spatial organization of the eukaryotic genome are actively discussed in the modern literature. Some authors think that the association of transcribed genes into transcription factories constitutes a major factor supporting the function-dependent three-dimensional organization of the interphase genome. In spite of the obvious interest in the problem of spatial organization of transcription in the eukaryotic cell nucleus, the number of experimental studies of transcriptional factories remains rather limited and the results of these studies are often contradictory. In the current review we have tried to critically re-evaluate the published experimental results that constitute the basis for current models and also the models themselves. We have especially analyzed the existing contradictions and attempted to explain them whenever possible. We also discuss new models that can explain the biological significance of clustering of transcribed genes and show possible mechanisms of the origin of transcription factories in the course of evolution.
KEY WORDS: genome spatial organization, immobilized RNA polymerase, nuclear matrix, remote gene interaction, transcriptional interaction, regulation of gene expression