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Gene. 2001 Sep 5;275(1):19-29.

Molecular biology of the chromo domain: an ancient chromatin module comes of age.

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  • Edward A. Doisy Department of Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 South Grand Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63104-1079, USA. eissenjc@slu.edu


The chromo domain motif is found in proteins from fungi, protists, plants, fish, insects, amphibians, birds, and mammals. The chromo domain peptide fold may have its origins as a chromosomal protein in a common ancestor of archea and eukaryota, making it a particularly ancient protein structural module. Chromo domains have been found in single or multiple copies in proteins with diverse structures and activities, most or all of which are connected with chromosome structure/function. In this review, our current knowledge of chromo domain properties is summarized and a variety of contexts in which chromo domains participate in aspects of chromatin metabolism are discussed.

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