The nucleosome: a powerful regulator of transcription

Prog Nucleic Acid Res Mol Biol. 1998;61:379-422. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6603(08)60832-6.


Nucleosomes provide the architectural framework for transcription. Histones, DNA elements, and transcription factors are organized into precise regulatory complexes. Positioned nucleosomes can facilitate or impede the transcription process. These structures are dynamic, reflecting the capacity of chromatin to adopt different functional states. Histones are mobile with respect to DNA sequence. Individual histone domains are targeted for posttranslational modifications. Histone acetylation promotes transcription factor access to nucleosomal DNA and relieves inhibitory effects on transcriptional initiation and elongation. The nucleosomal infrastructure emerges as powerful contributor to the regulation of gene activity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA / chemistry
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / chemistry
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Protein Conformation
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / metabolism
  • Receptors, Steroid / metabolism
  • TATA Box
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, Steroid
  • Transcription Factors
  • DNA