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Chromosoma. 2009 Feb;118(1):11-23. doi: 10.1007/s00412-008-0184-2. Epub 2008 Oct 17.

Chromatin: linking structure and function in the nucleolus.

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Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich Research Park, Norwich, Norfolk, UK.


The nucleolus is an informative model structure for studying how chromatin-regulated transcription relates to nuclear organisation. In this review, we describe how chromatin controls nucleolar structure through both the modulation of rDNA activity by convergently-evolved remodelling complexes and by direct effects upon rDNA packaging. This packaging not only regulates transcription but may also be important for suppressing internal recombination between tandem rDNA repeats. The identification of nucleolar histone chaperones and novel chromatin proteins by mass spectrometry suggests that structure-specific chromatin components remain to be characterised and may regulate the nucleolus in novel ways. However, it also suggests that there is considerable overlap between nucleolar and non-nucleolar-chromatin components. We conclude that a fuller understanding of nucleolar chromatin will be essential for understanding how gene organisation is linked with nuclear architecture.

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