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The nucleosome: a powerful regulator of transcription.

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Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Nucleosomes provide the architectural framework for transcription. Histones, DNA elements, and transcription factors are organized into precise regulatory complexes. Positioned nucleosomes can facilitate or impede the transcription process. These structures are dynamic, reflecting the capacity of chromatin to adopt different functional states. Histones are mobile with respect to DNA sequence. Individual histone domains are targeted for posttranslational modifications. Histone acetylation promotes transcription factor access to nucleosomal DNA and relieves inhibitory effects on transcriptional initiation and elongation. The nucleosomal infrastructure emerges as powerful contributor to the regulation of gene activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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