Polymer models of chromatin imaging data in single cells


  • M. Conte
  • A.M. Chiariello
  • A. Abraham
  • S. Bianco
  • A. Esposito
  • M. Nicodemi
  • T. Matteuzzi
  • F. Vercellone


  • Algorithms


  • Algorithms 15 (9): 330


  • Recent super-resolution imaging technologies enable tracing chromatin conformation with nanometer-scale precision at the single-cell level. They revealed, for example, that human chromosomes fold into a complex three-dimensional structure within the cell nucleus that is essential to establish biological activities, such as the regulation of the genes. Yet, to decode from imaging data the molecular mechanisms that shape the structure of the genome, quantitative methods are required. In this review, we consider models of polymer physics of chromosome folding that we benchmark against multiplexed FISH data available in human loci in IMR90 fibroblast cells. By combining polymer theory, numerical simulations and machine learning strategies, the predictions of the models are validated at the single-cell level, showing that chromosome structure is controlled by the interplay of distinct physical processes, such as active loop-extrusion and thermodynamic phase-separation.