Is euchromatin really open in the cell?

Genomic DNA is wrapped around a core histone octamer and forms a nucleosome. In higher eukaryotic cells, strings of nucleosomes are irregularly folded as chromatin domains that act as functional genome units. According to a typical textbook model, chromatin can be categorized into two types, euchromatin and heterochromatin, based on its degree of compaction. Euchromatin is open, while heterochromatin is closed and condensed. However, is euchromatin really open in the cell? New evidence from genomics and advanced imaging studies has revealed that euchromatin consists of condensed liquid-like domains. Condensed chromatin seems to be the default chromatin state in higher eukaryotic cells. We discuss this novel view of euchromatin in the cell and how the revealed organization is relevant to genome functions.


Authors: Maeshima K, Iida S, Shimazoe MA, Tamura S, Ide S

Journal: Trends in Cell Biology. 2023; S0962-8924(23)00090-9.