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Biochem Cell Biol. 2007 Aug;85(4):444-62.

How many remodelers does it take to make a brain? Diverse and cooperative roles of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes in development.

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Department of Biological Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99508, USA.


The development of a metazoan from a single-celled zygote to a complex multicellular organism requires elaborate and carefully regulated programs of gene expression. However, the tight packaging of genomic DNA into chromatin makes genes inaccessible to the cellular machinery and must be overcome by the processes of chromatin remodeling; in addition, chromatin remodeling can preferentially silence genes when their expression is not required. One class of chromatin remodelers, ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling enzymes, can slide nucleosomes along the DNA to make specific DNA sequences accessible or inaccessible to regulators at a particular stage of development. While all ATPases in the SWI2/SNF2 superfamily share the fundamental ability to alter DNA accessibility in chromatin, they do not act alone, but rather, are subunits of a large assortment of protein complexes. Recent studies illuminate common themes by which the subunit compositions of chromatin-remodeling complexes specify the developmental roles that chromatin remodelers play in specific tissues and at specific stages of development, in response to specific signaling pathways and transcription factors. In this review, we will discuss the known roles in metazoan development of 3 major subfamilies of chromatin-remodeling complexes: the SNF2, ISWI, and CHD subfamilies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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