Caister Academic Press

DNA Sequence Contribution to Nucleosome Distribution

Justin A. Fincher and Jonathan H. Dennis
from: Epigenetics: A Reference Manual (Edited by: Jeffrey M. Craig and Nicholas C. Wong). Caister Academic Press, U.K. (2011)

Abstract

DNA in eukaryotes is efficiently and compactly organized into chromatin, the fundamental subunit of which is the nucleosome: approximately 150 bp of DNA spooled 1.65 times around a histone octamer. The location and density of nucleosomes play a role in regulating nuclear processes including transcription, replication, recombination, and repair. Mechanisms acting in trans, like ATP-dependent remodelers and cellular memory complexes, as well as in cis features intrinsic to the DNA sequence itself regulate the location and density of nucleosomes. Here, we review the three cis acting DNA sequence features that affect the distribution of nucleosomes: (1) two frameworks defining the relationship between the histone octamer and the underlying DNA sequence (nucleosome occupancy and nucleosome position, then statistical positioning and a nucleosome positioning code), (2) the organization of DNA into the nucleosome core particle, and (3) specific DNA sequence features and DNA templates that promote or inhibit the formation of nucleosomes. We close by describing three computational algorithms trained on DNA sequence that have been used to predict nucleosome position and density. In summary, we hope to draw attention to multiple aspects of DNA sequence that specify organization of sequence into nucleosomes and influence the distribution of nucleosomes in eukaryotic genomes read more ...
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