Linking chromatin composition and structural dynamics at the nucleosome level

Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2019 Jun;56:46-55. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2018 Dec 4.


Nucleosomes are fundamental units of chromatin compaction, which organize ∼200 DNA base pairs using an octamer of histone proteins. Their ubiquitous presence in the cell nucleus since the first eukaryotes compelled the chromatin machinery to coevolve and learn how to exploit various modes of nucleosome dynamics and sense differences in nucleosome composition. Alterations to histone or DNA sequences, post-translational modifications (PTM) of histones, recruitment of chromatin proteins modulate nucleosome dyn amics and provide epigenetic regulation to the DNA processing pathways (transcription, replication, repair, etc.). Our understanding of this complex interplay between nucleosome composition, dynamics and functioning is constantly evolving through new insights and discoveries. In this review, we highlight recent contributions to the field while attempting to organize them in a unified framework.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleosomes / chemistry
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA