What controls nucleosome positions?

Trends Genet. 2009 Aug;25(8):335-43. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2009.06.002. Epub 2009 Jul 10.


The DNA of eukaryotic genomes is wrapped in nucleosomes, which strongly distort and occlude the DNA from access to most DNA-binding proteins. An understanding of the mechanisms that control nucleosome positioning along the DNA is thus essential to understanding the binding and action of proteins that carry out essential genetic functions. New genome-wide data on in vivo and in vitro nucleosome positioning greatly advance our understanding of several factors that can influence nucleosome positioning, including DNA sequence preferences, DNA methylation, histone variants and post-translational modifications, higher order chromatin structure, and the actions of transcription factors, chromatin remodelers and other DNA-binding proteins. We discuss how these factors function and ways in which they might be integrated into a unified framework that accounts for both the preservation of nucleosome positioning and the dynamic nucleosome repositioning that occur across biological conditions, cell types, developmental processes and disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly / physiology*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA Methylation
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA