Pulling the chromatin
Laboratoire de Spectrometrie Physique, UMR 5588, CNRS, 140 Av. de la Physique, BP 87, 38402, St. Martin d'Heres Cedex, France
* e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 3 February 2006
Published online: 14 March 2006
Nucleosome is the basic subunit of the chromatin, which organizes the genomic DNA within the cell nucleus. It was understood in the last decade that beside the DNA compaction it plays an important role in the regulation of the gene expression. In its intact form, the nucleosome represents an important mechanical barrier and, among others, it prevents access to the DNA and blocks the transcription elongation. Therefore, it has become important to know the forces and energies necessary to destabilize the nucleosome in order to understand the DNA-related processes. Stretching the chromatin fibre using micromanipulation techniques (e.g. optical tweezers) is an ideal approach to study the nucleosomal stability and the parameters that can modify it. In this short review we will discuss the existing data and potential difficulties that this state-of-the-art technique still has to overcome.
PACS: 87.15.La Mechanical properties – / 87.16.Sr Chromosomes, histones – / 87.80.Cc Optical trapping –
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2006