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Integrating Transposable Elements in the 3D Genome

By Alexandros Bousios, Hans-Wilhelm Nuetzmann, Dorothy Buck, Davide Michieletto

Posted 30 Oct 2019
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/823179 (published DOI: 10.1186/s13100-020-0202-3)

Chromosome organisation is increasingly recognised as an essential component of genome regulation, cell fate and cell health. Within the realm of transposable elements (TEs) however, the spatial information of how genomes are folded is still only rarely integrated in experimental studies or accounted for in modelling. Here, we propose a new predictive modelling framework for the study of the integration patterns of TEs based on extensions of widely employed polymer models for genome organisation. Whilst polymer physics is recognised as an important tool to understand the mechanisms of genome folding, we now show that it can also offer orthogonal and generic insights into the integration and distribution profiles (or "topography") of TEs across organisms. Here, we present polymer physics arguments and molecular dynamics simulations on TEs inserting into heterogeneously flexible polymers and show with a simple model that polymer folding and local flexibility affects TE integration patterns. The preliminary discussion presented herein lay the foundations for a large-scale analysis of TE integration dynamics and topography as a function of the three-dimensional host genome.

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