Liquid-like behavior of chromatin

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2016 Apr;37:36-45. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2015.11.006. Epub 2016 Jan 27.


Eukaryotic chromatin is a negatively charged long polymer composed of genomic DNA, histones, and various proteins. The charged property causes the chromatin structure to be dynamically changed. These dynamic changes are critical for genome functions such as gene expression because they directly govern the degree of DNA accessibility. Although the chromatin structure is not yet fully understood, currently increasing evidence suggests that chromatin has a dynamic liquid-like structure based on the 10-nm fiber but not the 30-nm fiber. This liquid-like property can drive the process of 'scanning and targeting genomic DNA,' which contributes to various genome functions including gene expression and DNA replication, repair, and recombination. Here, we discuss the liquid-like behavior of chromatin and its physical and biological relevance.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA Replication / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • Chromatin
  • DNA