Transcription through chromatin by RNA polymerase II: histone displacement and exchange

Mutat Res. 2007 May 1;618(1-2):116-29. doi: 10.1016/j.mrfmmm.2006.05.040. Epub 2007 Jan 21.


The process of transcript elongation by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) involves transcription-dependent exchange and displacement of all core histones and is tightly controlled by numerous protein complexes modifying chromatin structure. These processes can contribute to regulation of transcription initiation and elongation, as well as the chromatin state. Recent data suggest that the histone octamer is displaced from DNA at a high rate of transcription, but can survive less frequent transcription that is accompanied only by partial loss of H2A/H2B histones. Here we propose that critical density of Pol II molecules could be required for displacement of the histone octamer and discuss mechanisms that are most likely involved in the processes of histone exchange.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Nucleosomes / chemistry
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Protein Denaturation
  • RNA Polymerase II / chemistry*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA
  • RNA Polymerase II