Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Getting Over the Code Delusion > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

The nucleosome’s plastic form and fluid movement

During the actual process of gene transcription, RNA polymerase appears to take advantage of [the rhythmical breathing of DNA on the nucleosome] in order to move, step by step and with significant pauses, along the gene it is transcribing. The characteristics of nucleosomes — whether firmly anchored to the DNA or easily dislodged — affect the timing and frequency of these pauses. And the rhythm of pauses and movements in turn affects the folding of the RNA being synthesized: a proper music is required for correct folding, which finally in its turn affects the structure and function of the protein produced from the RNA molecule. The elements all respond to each other in a seamless dance of life.

[Summarizing much foregoing discussion:] Such, then, is the sort of intimate, intricate, well-timed choreography through which our genes come to their proper expression. And the plastic, shape-shifting nucleosome in the middle of it all — with its exquisite sensitivity to the DNA sequence on the one hand, and, on the other hand, its mobile, flexible tails responding fluidly to the ever-varying signals coming from the surrounding life context — provides an excellent vantage point from which to view the overall drama of form and movement.

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