The many colours of chromodomains

Bioessays. 2004 Feb;26(2):133-40. doi: 10.1002/bies.10392.


Local differences in chromatin organisation may profoundly affect the activity of eukaryotic genomes. Regulation at the level of DNA packaging requires the targeting of structural proteins and histone-modifying enzymes to specific sites and their stable or dynamic interaction with the nucleosomal fiber. The "chromodomain", a domain shared by many regulators of chromatin structure, has long been suspected to serve as a module mediating chromatin interactions in a variety of different protein contexts. However, recent functional analyses of a number of different chromodomains revealed an unexpected diversity of interaction targets, including histones, DNA and even RNA. The chromodomains of today seem to have evolved from a common ancestral fold to fulfill various functions in different molecular contexts. Combining information gained from recent functional and structural studies of chromodomains with a bioinformatic classification of their structure could lead to the definition of sequence motifs with predictive quality for chromodomain function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / chemistry
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Protein Conformation


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins