How to Compact DNA

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Science  16 Oct 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5388, pp. 425-427
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5388.425

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How does the cell pack enormously long strands of DNA into compact little bundles, the chromosomes? Murray describes, in his Perspective, a report in this issue by Kimura et al. examining the activity of the condensin complex, which comprises five protein subunits. Phosphorylation of its subunits enables the condensin complex to supercoil DNA, an essential step in chromosome condensation. Murray goes on to explain how chromosome structure can contribute to gene regulation in significant ways.