Emerging roles for chromatin as a signal integration and storage platform

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Apr;14(4):211-24. doi: 10.1038/nrm3545.


Cells of a multicellular organism, all containing nearly identical genetic information, respond to differentiation cues in variable ways. In addition, cells are plastic, able to execute their specialized function while maintaining the ability to adapt to environmental changes. This is achieved through multiple mechanisms, including the direct regulation of chromatin-based processes in response to stimuli. How signal transduction pathways directly communicate with chromatin to change the epigenetic landscape is poorly understood. The preponderance of covalent modifications on histone tails coupled with a relatively small number of functional outputs raises the possibility that chromatin acts as a site of signal integration and storage.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication / genetics*
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Methylation
  • Models, Genetic
  • Signal Transduction / genetics*


  • Chromatin
  • Histones