Russian Journal of Genetics

, Volume 55, Issue 2, pp 154–162 | Cite as

Functions of Insulators in the Context of Modern Whole-Genome Investigations

  • N. E. Vorobyeva
  • M. Yu. MazinaEmail author


Insulators are usually defined as DNA elements with the property to defend the gene from the influence of the other regulatory elements: enhancer-blocking insulators prevent activation of the gene promoter by the enhancer, when located in between them; barrier insulators remove the so-called position-effect variegation, preventing the spread of heterochromatin. In recent years, applications of the whole-genome methods of analysis led to the accumulation of data on the function of insulator elements that go beyond the framework of canonical definitions. This review summarizes the most up-to-date data on the canonical function of insulators in the organization of chromatin architecture and gene transcription and also considers their noncanonical functions supplementing the generally accepted concepts of the role of insulators in the regulation of the genome function.


insulator TAD transcription replication stress response 



This work was supported by the grant of the Russian Science Foundation no. 17-74-10211.


The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. This article does not contain any studies involving animals or human participants performed by any of the authors.


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© Pleiades Publishing, Inc. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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