Perceiving the epigenetic landscape through histone readers

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2012 Dec;19(12):1218-27. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.2436.


Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones provide a fine-tuned mechanism for regulating chromatin structure and dynamics. PTMs can alter direct interactions between histones and DNA and serve as docking sites for protein effectors, or readers, of these PTMs. Binding of the readers recruits or stabilizes various components of the nuclear signaling machinery at specific genomic sites, mediating fundamental DNA-templated processes, including gene transcription and DNA recombination, replication and repair. In this review, we highlight the latest advances in characterizing histone-binding mechanisms and identifying new epigenetic readers and summarize the functional significance of PTM recognition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Methylation
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Phosphorylation
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Histones
  • DNA