Our genetic information is tightly packaged into a rather ingenious nucleoprotein complex called chromatin in a manner that enables it to be rapidly accessed during genomic processes. Formation of the nucleosome, which is the fundamental unit of chromatin, occurs via a stepwise process that is reversed to enable the disassembly of nucleosomes. Histone chaperone proteins have prominent roles in facilitating these processes as well as in replacing old histones with new canonical histones or histone variants during the process of histone exchange. Recent structural, biophysical and biochemical studies have begun to shed light on the molecular mechanisms whereby histone chaperones promote chromatin assembly, disassembly and histone exchange to facilitate DNA replication, repair and transcription.
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