Scaffold/matrix attachment region

Scaffold/matrix attachment region
S/MAR-functions: constitutive and facultative. A chromatin domain with constitutive S/MARs at its termini (I). When functional demands require the specific translocation of the constituent gene to the matrix, facultative S/MARs responds to topological changes which are initiated by the association of transcription factors (TF) and supported by histone acetylation. Topological changes are propagated once the gene is pulled through the transcriptional machinery (II). Transcription is terminated (III) followed by dissociation of the transcrption complex (IV)

The term ´S/MAR´ (scaffold/matrix attachment region), otherwise called ´SAR´ (scaffold-attachment region), or ´MAR´ (matrix-associated element), are sequences in the DNA of eukaryotic chromosomes where the nuclear matrix attaches. As architectural DNA components that organize the genome of eukaryotes into functional units within in the cell nucleus, S/MARs mediate structural organization of the chromatin within the nucleus. These elements constitute anchor points of the DNA for the chromatin scaffold and serve to organize the chromatin into structural domains. Studies on individual genes led to the conclusion that the dynamic and complex organization of the chromatin mediated by S/MAR elements plays an important role in the regulation of gene expression.



It has been known for many years that a polymer meshwork, a so-called “nuclear matrix” or “nuclear-scaffold” is an essential component of eukaryotic nuclei. This nuclear skeleton acts as a dynamic support for many specialized events concerning the readout a spread of genetic information (see below).

S/MARs map to non-random locations in the genome. They occur at the flanks of transcribed regions, in 5´-introns, and also at gene breakpoint cluster regions (BCRs). Being association points for common nuclear structural proteins S/MARs are required for authentic and efficient chromosomal replication and transcription, for recombination and chromosome condensation. S/MARs do not have an obvious consensus sequence. Although prototype elements consist of AT-rich regions several hundred base pairs in length, the over-all base composition is definitely not the primary determinant of their activity. Instead, their function requires a pattern of “AT-patches” that confer the propensity for local strand unpairing under torsional strain.

Bioinformatic approaches support the idea that, by these properties, S/MARs not only separate a given transcriptional unit (chromatin domain) from its neighbors, but also provide platforms for the assembly of factors enabling transcriptional events within a given domain. An increased propensity to separate the DNA-strands (the so called ´stress induced duplex destabilization´ potential, SIDD) can serve the formation of secondary structures such as cruciforms or slippage structures, which are recognizable features for a number of enzymes (DNAses, topoisomerases, poly(ADP-ribosyl) polymerases and enzymes of the histone-acetylation and DNA-methylation apparatus). S/MARs have been classified as either being constitutive (acting as permanent domain boundaries in all cell types) or facultative (cell type- and activity-related) depending on their dynamic properties.

While the number of S/MARs in the human genome has been estimated to approach 64 000 (chromatin domains) plus an additional 10 000 (replication foci), in 2007 still only a minor fraction (559 for all eukaryotes) had met the standard criteria for an annotation in the S/MARt database SMARtDB.

Context-dependent Properties of S/MARs

Nowadays the nuclear matrix is seen as a dynamic entity, which changes its properties along the requirements of the cell nucleus - much the same as the cytoskeleton adapts its structure and function to external signals. In retrospect it is of note that the discovery of S/MARs has two major routes:

  • the description of scaffold-attachment elements (SARs) by Laemmli and coworkers, which were thought to demarcate the borders of a given chromatin domain[1]
  • the characterization of matrix-associated regions (MARs) the first examples of which supported the immunoglobulin kapp-chain enhancer according to its occupancy with transcription factors[2]

Subsequent work demonstrated both the constitutive (SAR-like) and the facultative (MAR-like) function of the elements depending on the context. Whereas constitutive S/MARs were found to be associated with a DNaseI hypersensitve site in 'all' cell types (whether or not the enclosed domain was transcribed), DNAse I hypersensitivity of the facultative type depended on the transcriptional status.[3] The major difference between these two functional types of S/MARs is their size: the constitutive elements may extend over several kilobasepairs whereas facultative ones are at the lower size limit around 300 base pairs.

The figure shows our present understanding of these properties and it incorporates the following findings:

  • the dynamic properties of S/MAR-scaffold contacts as derived by haloFISH investigations[4]
  • the fact that during transcription DNA is reeled through RNA-polymerase which itself is a fixed component of the nuclear matrix[5]
  • the fact that certain domain-intrinsic S/MARs require the support of an adjacent transcription factor to become active.[3]

Additional Information about S/MARs

Recently, Tetko has found a strong correlation of intragenic S/MARs with spatiotemporal expression of genes in Arabidopsis thaliana.[6] On a genome scale, pronounced tissue- and organ-specific and developmental expression patterns of S/MAR-containing genes have been detected. Notably, transcription factor genes contain a significant higher portion of S/MARs. The pronounced difference in expression characteristics of S/MAR-containing genes emphasizes their functional importance and the importance of structural chromosomal characteristics for gene regulation in plants as well as within other eukaryotes.


  1. ^ Mirkovitch J, Mirault ME, Laemmli UK (November 1984). "Organization of the higher-order chromatin loop: specific DNA attachment sites on nuclear scaffold". Cell 39 (1): 223–32. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(84)90208-3. PMID 6091913. 
  2. ^ Cockerill PN, Garrard WT (January 1986). "Chromosomal loop anchorage of the kappa immunoglobulin gene occurs next to the enhancer in a region containing topoisomerase II sites". Cell 44 (2): 273–82. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(86)90761-0. PMID 3002631. 
  3. ^ a b Klar M, Stellamanns E, Ak P, Gluch A, Bode J (December 2005). "Dominant genomic structures: detection and potential signal functions in the interferon-beta domain". Gene 364: 79–89. doi:10.1016/j.gene.2005.07.023. PMID 16185826. 
  4. ^ Heng HH, Goetze S, Ye CJ, et al. (March 2004). "Chromatin loops are selectively anchored using scaffold/matrix-attachment regions". J. Cell. Sci. 117 (Pt 7): 999–1008. doi:10.1242/jcs.00976. PMID 14996931. 
  5. ^ Jackson DA, Dolle A, Robertson G, Cook PR (August 1992). "The attachments of chromatin loops to the nucleoskeleton". Cell Biol. Int. Rep. 16 (8): 687–96. PMID 1446346. 
  6. ^ See Tetko, Igor V., Georg Haberer, Stephen Rudd, Blake Meyers, Hans-Werner Mewes, and Klaus F. X. Mayer (2006) Spatiotemporal Expression Control Correlates with Intragenic Scaffold Matrix Attachment Regions (S/MARs) in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS Computational Biology 2:136-145. Online copy.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Нужен реферат?

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Matrix attachment region — (MAR), also known as Scaffold/matrix attachment regions (S/MARs), are sequences in the DNA of eukaryotic chromosomes where the nuclear matrix attaches. S/MARs mediate structural organization of the chromatin within the nucleus. These elements… …   Wikipedia

  • Matrix (biology) — In biology, matrix (plural: matrices) is the material (or tissue) between animal or plant cells, in which more specialized structures are embedded, and a specific part of the mitochondrion that is the site of oxidation of organic molecules. The… …   Wikipedia

  • S/MAR — The term ´S/MAR´ (scaffold/matrix attachment region), otherwise called ´SAR´ (scaffold attachment region) or ´MAR´ (matrix associated element) designates architectural components that organize the genome of eukaryotes into functional units within …   Wikipedia

  • HNRPU — Ribonucleoproteína nuclear heterogénea U HUGO 5048 Símbolo HNRPU Símbolos alt. HNRNPU, SAF A, U21.1 …   Wikipedia Español

  • EP300 — See also: p300 CBP coactivator family E1A binding protein p300 PDB rendering based on 1f81 …   Wikipedia

  • Plasmid — Figure 1: Illustration of a bacterium with plasmid enclosed showing chromosomal DNA and plasmids. In microbiology and genetics, a plasmid is a DNA molecule that is separate from, and can replicate independently of, the chromosomal DNA …   Wikipedia

  • Minicircle — preparation from a parental plasmid. The parental plasmid contains two recombinase target sites (black half arrows). Recombination between these sites generates the desired minicircle (bottom right) together with the miniplasmid (bottom left).… …   Wikipedia

  • SAFB — Scaffold attachment factor B, also known as SAFB, is a human gene.cite web | title = Entrez Gene: SAFB scaffold attachment factor B| url = Cmd=ShowDetailView TermToSearch=6294| accessdate = ] PBB… …   Wikipedia

  • MAR/SAR — matrix attachment region/scaffold attachment region [genomic sequencing] …   Medical dictionary

  • MAR/SAR — • matrix attachment region/scaffold attachment region [genomic sequencing] …   Dictionary of medical acronyms & abbreviations

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”