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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2010 May;2(5):a000596. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a000596. Epub 2010 Apr 7.

Chromatin higher-order structure and dynamics.

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  • 1Biology Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts 01003, USA. chris@bio.umass.edu

Abstract

The primary role of the nucleus as an information storage, retrieval, and replication site requires the physical organization and compaction of meters of DNA. Although it has been clear for many years that nucleosomes constitute the first level of chromatin compaction, this contributes a relatively small fraction of the condensation needed to fit the typical genome into an interphase nucleus or set of metaphase chromosomes, indicating that there are additional "higher order" levels of chromatin condensation. Identifying these levels, their interrelationships, and the principles that govern their occurrence has been a challenging and much discussed problem. In this article, we focus on recent experimental advances and the emerging evidence indicating that structural plasticity and chromatin dynamics play dominant roles in genome organization. We also discuss novel approaches likely to yield important insights in the near future, and suggest research areas that merit further study.

PMID:
20452954
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2857170
Free PMC Article

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