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Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2009;277:157-215. doi: 10.1016/S1937-6448(09)77005-4.

Chapter 5. Nuclear actin-related proteins in epigenetic control.

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  • 1Department of Genetics, Davison Life Sciences Building, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA.


The nuclear actin-related proteins (ARPs) share overall structure and low-level sequence homology with conventional actin. They are indispensable subunits of macromolecular machines that control chromatin remodeling and modification leading to dynamic changes in DNA structure, transcription, and DNA repair. Cellular, genetic, and biochemical studies suggest that the nuclear ARPs are essential to the epigenetic control of the cell cycle and cell proliferation in all eukaryotes, while in plants and animals they also exert epigenetic controls over most stages of multicellular development including organ initiation, the switch to reproductive development, and senescence and programmed cell death. A theme emerging from plants and animals is that in addition to their role in controlling the general compaction of DNA and gene silencing, isoforms of nuclear ARP-containing chromatin complexes have evolved to exert dynamic epigenetic control over gene expression and different phases of multicellular development. Herein, we explore this theme by examining nuclear ARP phylogeny, activities of ARP-containing chromatin remodeling complexes that lead to epigenetic control, expanding developmental roles assigned to several animal and plant ARP-containing complexes, the evidence that thousands of ARP complex isoforms may have evolved in concert with multicellular development, and ARPs in human disease.

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