Author(s): Davie JR
The nuclear matrix, the RNA-protein skeleton of the nucleus, has a role in the organization and function of nuclear DNA. Nuclear processes associated with the nuclear matrix include transcription, replication and dynamic histone acetylation. Nuclear matrix proteins, which are tissue and cell type specific, are altered with transformation and state of differentiation. Transcription factors are associated with the nuclear matrix, with the spectra of nuclear matrix bound factors being cell type specific. There is compelling evidence that the transcription machinery is anchored to the nuclear matrix, and the chromatin fiber is spooled through this complex. Transcriptionally active chromatin domains are associated with dynamically acetylated histones. The energy exhaustive process of dynamic histone acetylation has several functions. Acetylation of the N-terminal tails of the core histones alters nucleosome and higher order chromatin structure, aiding transcriptional elongation and facilitating the binding of transcription factors to nucleosomes associated with regulatory DNA sequences. Histone acetylation can manipulate the interactions of regulatory proteins that bind to the N-terminal tails of the core histones. Lastly, dynamic acetylation may contribute to the transient attachment of transcriptionally active chromatin to the nuclear matrix. Reversible histone acetylation is catalyzed by histone acetyltransferase and deacetylase, enzymes associated with the nuclear matrix. The recent isolation and characterization of histone acetyltransferase and deacetylase reveals that these enzymes are related to transcriptional regulators, providing us with new insights about how these enzymes are targeted to nuclear matrix sites engaged in transcription.