Gene regulation by nucleosome positioning

Trends Genet. 2010 Nov;26(11):476-83. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2010.08.003. Epub 2010 Sep 9.


To achieve high compaction, most genomic DNA in eukaryotes is incorporated into nucleosomes; however, regulatory factors and transcriptional machinery must gain access to chromatin to extract genetic information. This conflict is partially resolved by a particular arrangement of nucleosome locations on the genome. Across all eukaryotic species, promoters and other regulatory sequences are more nucleosome-depleted, whereas transcribed regions tend to be occupied with well-positioned, high-density nucleosomal arrays. This nucleosome positioning pattern, as well as its dynamic regulation, facilitates the access of transcription factors to their target sites and plays a crucial role in determining the transcription level, cell-to-cell variation and activation or repression dynamics.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Nucleosomes