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Signal transduction pathways and the modification of chromatin structure.

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Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.


Mechanical and chemical signaling pathways are involved in transmitting information from the exterior of a cell to its chromatin. The mechanical signaling pathway consists of a tissue matrix system that links together the three-dimensional skeletal networks, the extracellular matrix, cytoskeleton, and karyoskeleton. The tissue matrix system governs cell and nuclear shape and forms a structural and functional connection between the cell periphery and chromatin. Further, this mechanical signaling pathway has a role in controlling cell cycle progression and gene expression. Chemical signaling pathways such as the Ras/mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway can stimulate the activity of kinases that modify transcription factors, nonhistone chromosomal proteins, and histones. Activation of the Ras/MAPK pathway results in the alteration of chromatin structure and gene expression. The tissue matrix and chemical signaling pathways are not independent and one signaling pathway can affect the other. In this chapter, we will review chromatin organization, histone variants and modifications, and the impact that signaling pathways have on chromatin structure and function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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