Academic journal article The Science Teacher

DNA Packaging Protein

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

DNA Packaging Protein

Article excerpt

Scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found that a class of chromatin proteins is crucial for maintaining the structure and function of chromosomes and the normal development of eukaryotic organisms. The research, reported in Genes and Development, also found that this protein class, known as "linker histones," works to regulate gene expression in vivo.

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H1 is one of the five histones--proteins that help to "package" the DNA within chromosomes. All organisms whose cells contain a nucleus--from yeast to humans--have histones in their nuclei. Interest in histones has deepened over the past decade, especially since a growing number of reports indicate that cancer cells often contain unusual patterns of histone modifications.

A chromosome's combination of histone proteins and DNA is referred to as "chromatin." Four of the five histones called "core histones" form protein "spools" around which DNA is tightly wound into a nucleosome; H1 is called a "linker histone" because it binds the DNA between nucleosomes. H1 is thought to help in organizing and compacting the DNA in chromosomes, but questions persist about its actual role. …

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