Histones Face the FACT

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Science  22 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5636, pp. 1053-1055
DOI: 10.1126/science.1088901

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Given the "beads-on-a-string" nature of chromatin, scientists have long pondered how the large RNA polymerase II complex accesses the DNA during transcription. In his Perspective, Svejstrup discusses new work from three groups ( Belotserkovskaya et al., Kaplan et al., and Saunders et al.) revealing that two elongation factors, Spt6 and FACT, are responsible for displacing histone proteins ahead of the polymerase and redepositing them on the DNA in its wake.