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Microbiol Mol Biol Rev. 2011 Jun;75(2):301-20. doi: 10.1128/MMBR.00046-10.

Nucleosome positioning in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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VIB Laboratory for Systems Biology, Bio-Incubator, Gaston Geenslaan 1, B-3001 Leuven, Belgium.


The DNA of eukaryotic cells is spooled around large histone protein complexes, forming nucleosomes that make up the basis for a high-order packaging structure called chromatin. Compared to naked DNA, nucleosomal DNA is less accessible to regulatory proteins and regulatory processes. The exact positions of nucleosomes therefore influence several cellular processes, including gene expression, chromosome segregation, recombination, replication, and DNA repair. Here, we review recent technological advances enabling the genome-wide mapping of nucleosome positions in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We discuss the various parameters that determine nucleosome positioning in vivo, including cis factors like AT content, variable tandem repeats, and poly(dA:dT) tracts that function as chromatin barriers and trans factors such as chromatin remodeling complexes, transcription factors, histone-modifying enzymes, and RNA polymerases. In the last section, we review the biological role of chromatin in gene transcription, the evolution of gene regulation, and epigenetic phenomena.

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