Chromosome Research

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 201–214 | Cite as

How cohesin and CTCF cooperate in regulating gene expression



Cohesin is a DNA-binding protein complex that is essential for sister chromatid cohesion and facilitates the repair of damaged DNA. In addition, cohesin has important roles in regulating gene expression, but the molecular mechanisms of this function are poorly understood. Recent experiments have revealed that cohesin binds to the same sites in mammalian genomes as the zinc finger transcription factor CTCF. At a few loci CTCF has been shown to function as an enhancer-blocking transcriptional insulator, and recent observations indicate that this function depends on cohesin. Here we review what is known about the roles of cohesin and CTCF in regulating gene expression in mammalian cells, and we discuss how cohesin might mediate the insulator function of CTCF.


insulator chromatin transcription cohesin CTCF 





Cornelia de Lange Syndrome


chromatin immunoprecipitation


5′HS4 chicken β-globin insulator


zinc finger transcription factor


ecdysone receptor B1


imprinting control region, also called differentially methylated region or domain (DMR/DMD)


Karposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus


locus control region


non-coding RNA




quantitative polymerase chain reaction


Roberts/SC Phocomelia Syndrome


RNA interference


tobacco etch virus protease


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP)ViennaAustria

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