Epigenetic virtues of chromodomains

Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Dec;46(6):507-26. doi: 10.3109/10409238.2011.619164. Epub 2011 Oct 25.


The chromatin organization modifier domain (chromodomain) was first identified as a motif associated with chromatin silencing in Drosophila. There is growing evidence that chromodomains are evolutionary conserved across different eukaryotic species to control diverse aspects of epigenetic regulation. Although originally reported as histone H3 methyllysine readers, the chromodomain functions have now expanded to recognition of other histone and non-histone partners as well as interaction with nucleic acids. Chromodomain binding to a diverse group of targets is mediated by a conserved substructure called the chromobox homology region. This motif can be used to predict methyllysine binding and distinguish chromodomains from related Tudor "Royal" family members. In this review, we discuss and classify various chromodomains according to their context, structure and the mechanism of target recognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / chemistry*
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / chemistry
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histones / chemistry
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lysine / genetics
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histones
  • Lysine