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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2003 Apr;13(2):170-8.

HMGB proteins and gene expression.

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  • 1DIBIT, Istituto Scientifico San Raffaele, via Olgettina 58, 20132 Milano, Italy.


High mobility group (HMG) proteins are chromatin proteins endowed with 'architectural' capabilities. HMGA proteins are moderately sequence-specific, and help build enhanceosomes by interacting with partner proteins and binding stably to the minor groove of DNA; their acetylation/deacetylation signal enhanceosome assembly or disassembly. HMGBs are much more dynamic proteins: they have no sequence specificity, and help transcription factors and other nuclear proteins bind to their cognate sites by bending the DNA molecule. However, HMGBs are rarely retained within the complex. Similarly, HMGBs interact with nucleosomes and promote their sliding, but remain bound only for fractions of a second. We argue that HMGBs fluidize chromatin - an action that appears opposite to that of histone H1.

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