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Article

Fractal Folding and Medium Viscoelasticity Contribute Jointly to Chromosome Dynamics

Physical Review Letters. 2018. Vol. 120. No. 088101. P. 088101-1-088101-6.
Tamm M., Polovnikov K., Cosentino Lagomarsino M., Gherardi M.

Chromosomes are key players of cell physiology, their dynamics provides valuable information about its physical organization. In both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, the short-time motion of chromosomal loci has been described with a Rouse model in a simple or viscoelastic medium. However, little emphasis has been put on the influence of the folded organization of chromosomes on the local dynamics. Clearly, stress propagation, and thus dynamics, must be affected by such organization, but a theory allowing us to extract such information from data, e.g., on two-point correlations, is lacking. Here, we describe a theoretical framework able to answer this general polymer dynamics question. We provide a scaling analysis of the stress-propagation time between two loci at a given arclength distance along the chromosomal coordinate. The results suggest a precise way to assess folding information from the dynamical coupling of chromosome segments. Additionally, we realize this framework in a specific model of a polymer whose long-range interactions are designed to make it fold in a fractal way and immersed in a medium characterized by subdiffusive fractional Langevin motion with a tunable scaling exponent. This allows us to derive explicit analytical expressions for the correlation functions.