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The role of bromodomain proteins in regulating gene expression.


Histone modifications are important in regulating gene expression in eukaryotes. Of the numerous histone modifications which have been identified, acetylation is one of the best characterised and is generally associated with active genes. Histone acetylation can directly affect chromatin structure by neutralising charges on the histone tail, and can also function as a binding site for proteins which can directly or indirectly regulate transcription. Bromodomains specifically bind to acetylated lysine residues on histone tails, and bromodomain proteins play an important role in anchoring the complexes of which they are a part to acetylated chromatin. Bromodomain proteins are involved in a diverse range of functions, such as acetylating histones, remodeling chromatin, and recruiting other factors necessary for transcription. These proteins thus play a critical role in the regulation of transcription.