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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2011 Apr;21(2):175-86. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2011.01.022. Epub 2011 Feb 20.

Chromatin higher-order structures and gene regulation.

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  • 1National Laboratory of Biomacromolecules, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Genomic DNA in the eukaryotic nucleus is hierarchically packaged by histones into chromatin to fit inside the nucleus. The dynamics of higher-order chromatin compaction play a crucial role in transcription and other biological processes inherent to DNA. Many factors, including histone variants, histone modifications, DNA methylation, and the binding of non-histone architectural proteins regulate the structure of chromatin. Although the structure of nucleosomes, the fundamental repeating unit of chromatin, is clear, there is still much discussion on the higher-order levels of chromatin structure. In this review, we focus on the recent progress in elucidating the structure of the 30-nm chromatin fiber. We also discuss the structural plasticity/dynamics and epigenetic inheritance of higher-order chromatin and the roles of chromatin higher-order organization in eukaryotic gene regulation.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
21342762
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3124554
Free PMC Article
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