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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2006 Apr;16(2):119-24. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Patterning chromatin: form and function for H2A.Z variant nucleosomes.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, 600 16th Street, San Francisco, CA 94143-2240, USA.


Although many histone variants are specific to higher eukaryotes, the H2A variant H2A.Z has been conserved during eukaryotic evolution. Genetic studies have demonstrated roles for H2A.Z in antagonizing gene-silencing, chromosome stability and gene activation. Biochemical work has identified a conserved chromatin-remodeling complex responsible for H2A.Z deposition. Recent studies have shown that two H2A.Z nucleosomes flank a nucleosome-free region containing the transcription initiation site in promoters of both active and inactive genes in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This chromatin pattern is generated through the action of a DNA deposition signal and a specific pattern of histone tail acetylation.

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