Chromatin provides both a means to accommodate a large amount of genetic material in a small space and a means to package the same genetic material in different chromatin states. Transitions between chromatin states are enabled by chromatin-remodeling ATPases, which catalyze a diverse range of structural transformations. Biochemical evidence over the last two decades suggests that chromatin-remodeling activities may have emerged by adaptation of ancient DNA translocases to respond to specific features of chromatin. Here, we discuss such evidence and also relate mechanistic insights to our understanding of how chromatin-remodeling enzymes enable different in vivo processes.
Copyright © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.