Histone proteins compact and stabilize the genomes of Eukarya and Archaea. By forming nucleosome(-like) structures they restrict access of DNA-binding transcription regulators to cis-regulatory DNA elements. Dynamic competition between histones and transcription factors is facilitated by different classes of proteins including ATP-dependent remodeling enzymes that control assembly, access, and editing of chromatin. Here, we summarize the knowledge on dynamics underlying transcriptional regulation across the domains of life with a focus on ATP-dependent enzymes in chromatin structure or in TATA-binding protein activity. These insights suggest directions for future studies on the evolution of transcription regulation and chromatin dynamics.
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