Uncovering the statistical physics of 3D chromosomal organization using data-driven modeling

Vinícius G. Contessoto, Ryan R. Cheng, José N. Onuchic

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


In recent years, much effort has been devoted to understanding the three-dimensional (3D) organization of the genome and how genomic structure mediates nuclear function. The development of experimental techniques that combine DNA proximity ligation with high-throughput sequencing, such as Hi-C, have substantially improved our knowledge about chromatin organization. Numerous experimental advancements, not only utilizing DNA proximity ligation but also high-resolution genome imaging (DNA tracing), have required theoretical modeling to determine the structural ensembles consistent with such data. These 3D polymer models of the genome provide an understanding of the physical mechanisms governing genome architecture. Here, we present an overview of the recent advances in modeling the ensemble of 3D chromosomal structures by employing the maximum entropy approach combined with polymer physics. Particularly, we discuss the minimal chromatin model (MiChroM) along with the “maximum entropy genomic annotations from biomarkers associated with structural ensembles” (MEGABASE) model, which have been remarkably successful in the accurate modeling of chromosomes consistent with both Hi-C and DNA-tracing data.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102418
JournalCurrent Opinion in Structural Biology
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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