Toward an Ensemble View of Chromatosome Structure: A Paradigm Shift from One to Many

Structure. 2018 Aug 7;26(8):1050-1057. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2018.05.009. Epub 2018 Jun 21.


There is renewed interest in linker histone (LH)-nucleosome binding and how LHs influence eukaryotic DNA compaction. For a long time, the goal was to uncover "the structure of the chromatosome," but recent studies of LH-nucleosome complexes have revealed an ensemble of structures. Notably, the reconstituted LH-nucleosome complexes used in experiments rarely correspond to the sequence combinations present in organisms. For a full understanding of the determinants of the distribution of the chromatosome structural ensemble, studies must include a complete description of the sequences and experimental conditions used, and be designed to enable systematic evaluation of sequence and environmental effects.

Keywords: NMR; X-ray crystallography; chromatin; chromatosome; cryo-EM; linker histone; macromolecular dynamics; macromolecular structure; nucleosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chickens / genetics
  • Chickens / metabolism
  • Cryoelectron Microscopy
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Nucleosomes / ultrastructure*
  • Protein Conformation, alpha-Helical
  • Protein Conformation, beta-Strand
  • Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs
  • Xenopus laevis / genetics
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA