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Electrostatics of DNA compaction in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes: functional insights and evolutionary perspective

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      Chromatin modifications and their function.

      The surface of nucleosomes is studded with a multiplicity of modifications. At least eight different classes have been characterized to date and many different sites have been identified for each class. Operationally, modifications function either by disrupting chromatin contacts or by affecting the recruitment of nonhistone proteins to chromatin. Their presence on histones can dictate the higher-order chromatin structure in which DNA is packaged and can orchestrate the ordered recruitment of enzyme complexes to manipulate DNA. In this way, histone modifications have the potential to influence many fundamental biological processes, some of which may be epigenetically inherited.
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        Crystal structure of the nucleosome core particle at 2.8 A resolution.

        The X-ray crystal structure of the nucleosome core particle of chromatin shows in atomic detail how the histone protein octamer is assembled and how 146 base pairs of DNA are organized into a superhelix around it. Both histone/histone and histone/DNA interactions depend on the histone fold domains and additional, well ordered structure elements extending from this motif. Histone amino-terminal tails pass over and between the gyres of the DNA superhelix to contact neighbouring particles. The lack of uniformity between multiple histone/DNA-binding sites causes the DNA to deviate from ideal superhelix geometry.
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          Mitosis-specific phosphorylation of histone H3 initiates primarily within pericentromeric heterochromatin during G2 and spreads in an ordered fashion coincident with mitotic chromosome condensation.

          We have generated and characterized a novel site-specific antibody highly specific for the phosphorylated form of the amino-terminus of histone H3 (Ser10). In this study, we used this antibody to examine in detail the relationship between H3 phosphorylation and mitotic chromosome condensation in mammalian cells. Our results extend previous biochemical studies by demonstrating that mitotic phosphorylation of H3 initiates nonrandomly in pericentromeric heterochromatin in late G2 interphase cells. Following initiation, H3 phosphorylation appears to spread throughout the condensing chromatin and is complete in most cell lines just prior to the formation of prophase chromosomes, in which a phosphorylated, but nonmitotic, chromosomal organization is observed. In general, there is a precise spatial and temporal correlation between H3 phosphorylation and initial stages of chromatin condensation. Dephosphorylation of H3 begins in anaphase and is complete immediately prior to detectable chromosome decondensation in telophase cells. We propose that the singular phosphorylation of the amino-terminus of histone H3 may be involved in facilitating two key functions during mitosis: (1) regulate protein-protein interactions to promote binding of trans-acting factors that "drive" chromatin condensation as cells enter M-phase and (2) coordinate chromatin decondensation associated with M-phase.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            SMOABF
            Soft Matter
            Soft Matter
            Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
            1744-683X
            1744-6848
            2012
            2012
            : 8
            : 36
            : 9285
            10.1039/c2sm25789k
            © 2012
            Product
            Self URI (article page): http://xlink.rsc.org/?DOI=c2sm25789k

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