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Annu Rev Biochem. 2015;84:227-63. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biochem-060614-034506. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

Nuclear ADP-Ribosylation and Its Role in Chromatin Plasticity, Cell Differentiation, and Epigenetics.

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Institute of Veterinary Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; email:


Protein ADP-ribosylation is an ancient posttranslational modification with high biochemical complexity. It alters the function of modified proteins or provides a scaffold for the recruitment of other proteins and thus regulates several cellular processes. ADP-ribosylation is governed by ADP-ribosyltransferases and a subclass of sirtuins (writers), is sensed by proteins that contain binding modules (readers) that recognize specific parts of the ADP-ribosyl posttranslational modification, and is removed by ADP-ribosylhydrolases (erasers). The large amount of experimental data generated and technical progress made in the last decade have significantly advanced our knowledge of the function of ADP-ribosylation at the molecular level. This review summarizes the current knowledge of nuclear ADP-ribosylation reactions and their role in chromatin plasticity, cell differentiation, and epigenetics and discusses current progress and future perspectives.


ADP-ribosylation; ARTD; NAD; PAR; PARP; chromatin; histone

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