Assembly, mobilization and disassembly of nucleosomes can influence the regulation of gene expression and other processes that act on eukaryotic DNA. Distinct nucleosome-assembly pathways deposit dimeric subunits behind the replication fork or at sites of active processes that mobilize pre-existing nucleosomes. Replication-coupled nucleosome assembly appears to be the default process that maintains silent chromatin, counteracted by active processes that destabilize nucleosomes. Nucleosome stability is regulated by the combined effects of nucleosome-positioning sequences, histone chaperones, ATP-dependent nucleosome remodellers, post-translational modifications and histone variants. Recent studies suggest that histone turnover helps to maintain continuous access to sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins that regulate epigenetic inheritance, providing a dynamic alternative to histone-marking models for the propagation of active chromatin.
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