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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2012 Apr;22(2):148-55. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 20.

Combinatorial complexity in chromatin structure and function: revisiting the histone code.

Author information

  • Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA. oliver.rando@umassmed.edu

Abstract

Covalent modifications of histone proteins play key roles in transcription, DNA repair, recombination, and other such processes. Over a hundred histone modifications have been described, and a popular idea in the field is that the function of a single histone mark cannot be understood without understanding its combinatorial co-occurrence with other marks, an idea generally called the 'histone code hypothesis.' This idea is hotly debated, with increasing biochemical evidence for chromatin regulatory factors that bind to specific histone modification combinations, but functional and localization studies finding minimal combinatorial complexity in histone modification patterns. This review will focus on these contrasting results, and will briefly touch on possible ways to reconcile these conflicting views.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PMID:
22440480
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3345062
Free PMC Article

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