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FEBS Lett. 2006 Jan 23;580(2):368-72. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

A physical model for the condensation and decondensation of eukaryotic chromosomes.

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Cell Biology and Cell Biophysics Programme, European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Heidelberg, Germany.


During the eukaryotic cell cycle, chromatin undergoes several conformational changes, which are believed to play key roles in gene expression regulation during interphase, and in genome replication and division during mitosis. In this paper, we propose a scenario for chromatin structural reorganization during mitosis, which bridges all the different scales involved in chromatin architecture, from nucleosomes to chromatin loops. We build a model for chromatin, based on available data, taking into account both physical and topological constraints DNA has to deal with. Our results suggest that the mitotic chromosome condensation/decondensation process is induced by a structural change at the level of the nucleosome itself.

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