Introduction and History


Chromosome Conformation Capture, or 3C, techniques are methods used to analyze nuclear organization within a cell.  Nuclear organization is specifically referring to the various ways in which the chromatin is packed and organized into distinct regions within the nucleus (Denker & Laat 2016).  This method has become an important tool for microbiologists, providing more information about nuclear organization than traditional microscopy techniques.  At the time of the creation of 3C, electron microscopy allowed for high resolution imaging of the nucleus, but could not be easily used to study specific loci in chromosomes, and light microscopy only allowed a resolution of about 100 to 200 nm, which was insufficient to define the conformation of chromosomes (Dekker et al., 2002). 


3C techniques were first used to study chromosome organization and analyze specific chromosomes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Dekker et al., 2002). These experiments, led by Dr. Job Dekker, took place in the Kleckner Lab at Harvard University in 2002. From these original experiments, a variety of techniques have been developed including 4C and 5C. These techniques allow for analysis of interactions between one locus and all other loci in the genome in the case of 4C as well as interactions between complex networks of loci, in the case of 5C.