The specific location of nucleosomes on DNA has important inhibitory or activating roles in the regulation of DNA-dependent processes as it affects the DNA accessibility. Nucleosome positions depend on the ATP-coupled activity of chromatin-remodelling complexes that translocate nucleosomes or evict them from the DNA. The mammalian cell harbors numerous different remodelling complexes that possess distinct activities. These can translate a variety of signals into certain patterns of nucleosome positions with specific functions. Although chromatin remodellers have been extensively studied in vitro, much less is known about how they operate in their cellular environment. Here, we review the cellular activities of the mammalian imitation switch proteins and discuss mechanisms by which they are targeted to sites where their activity is needed.
© 2011 The Authors Journal compilation © 2011 FEBS.