AAT Bioquest

What are the functions of chromatin?

Posted July 28, 2023


Chromatin has various important functions in the cell. The most important function of chromatin is DNA packaging. It is responsible for packaging and fitting the DNA strands within the nucleus. Chromatin compacts and condenses these strands by wrapping it around histone proteins and forming nucleosomes. The tight packaging also protects the DNA from damage from other substances. Chromatin also allows for several other cell processes to occur including: transcription, DNA replication, cell division, DNA repair, and genetic recombination. As chromatin is condensed into the nucleosome structure, DNA becomes less accessible for transcription factors. With this loosening of the chromatin structure, transcription machinery is better able to access the DNA and therefore transcription is promoted. Chromatin fibers also unwind for DNA replication, as duplicated chromatins condense further to eventually become chromosomes. Heterochromatin’s main function is to assist in DNA/repair replication. It also functions to prevent genetic instability and allows regulation of gene control.  

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