Chapter

Epigenetics and Chromatin

Volume 38 of the series Progress in Molecular and Subcellular Biology pp 65-89

How to Pack the Genome for a Safe Trip

  • Cécile CaronAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de la Différenciation - INSERM U309, Equipe “Chromatine et Expression des Gènes”, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine
  • , Jérôme GovinAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de la Différenciation - INSERM U309, Equipe “Chromatine et Expression des Gènes”, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine
  • , Sophie RousseauxAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de la Différenciation - INSERM U309, Equipe “Chromatine et Expression des Gènes”, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine
  • , Saadi KhochbinAffiliated withLaboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de la Différenciation - INSERM U309, Equipe “Chromatine et Expression des Gènes”, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine

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Abstract

The transformation of the somatic chromatin into a unique and highly compact structure occurring during the post-meiotic phase of spermatogenesis is one of the most dramatic known processes of chromatin remodeling. Paradoxically, no information is available on the mechanisms controlling this specific reorganization of the haploid cell genome. The only existing hints suggest a role for histone variants, as well as for stage-specific post-translational histone modifications, before and during the incorporation of testis-specific basic nuclear proteins. Moreover, the exact functions of the latter remain obscure. This chapter summarizes the major chromatin-associated events taking place during the post-meiotic differentiation of male haploid cells in mammals and discusses some of the basic issues that remain to be solved to finally understand chromatin remodeling during spermatogenesis.