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Bioessays. 1994 Mar;16(3):165-70.

Architectural variations of inducible eukaryotic promoters: preset and remodeling chromatin structures.

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Department of Biology, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri 63130.


The DNA in a eukaryotic nucleus is packaged into a nucleosome array, punctuated by variations in the regular pattern. The local chromatin structure of inducible genes appears to fall into two categories: preset and remodeling. Preset genes are those in which the binding sites for trans-acting factors are accessible (i.e. in a non-nucleosomal, DNase I hypersensitive configuration) prior to activation. In response to the activation signal, positive factors bind to cis-acting regulatory elements and trigger transcription with no major alterations in the chromatin structure of the promoter region. In contrast, remodeling genes are those in which some of the required cis-acting regulatory elements are packaged into nucleosomes. The nucleosomes must be perturbed in response to an activation signal in order for the trans-acting factors to gain access to cis-acting elements; a chromatin remodeling process which forms DNase I hypersensitive sites must occur. In both cases, precise positioning of nucleosomes along the promoter region of a gene appears to be critical for appropriate regulation of expression.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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