PerspectiveCircadian Rhythms

A New Histone Code for Clocks?

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Science  30 Sep 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6051, pp. 1833-1834
DOI: 10.1126/science.1212842

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Summary

The DNA of eukaryotic cells is wrapped around proteins, mainly histones, in a complex called chromatin. According to the famous histone code hypothesis of Allis and colleagues, posttranslational modifications of these histone proteins serve not necessarily to change the stability of chromatin structure, but rather as combinatorial recognition sites for the binding of other proteins that either modify chromatin or directly modulate transcription (1). Several recent articles (28), including that by DiTacchio et al. on page 1881 of this issue (9), show that the circadian clock that governs diurnal rhythms of physiology and behavior uses this histone code extensively. But how?