Skip to main content
Log in

Chromatin structure and dynamics: one nucleosome at a time

  • Review
  • Published:
Histochemistry and Cell Biology Aims and scope Submit manuscript
  • 7 Altmetric


Eukaryotic genomes store information on many levels, including their linear DNA sequence, the posttranslational modifications of its constituents (epigenetic modifications), and its three-dimensional folding. Understanding how this information is stored and read requires multidisciplinary collaborations from many branches of science beyond biology, including physics, chemistry, and computer science. Concurrent recent developments in all these areas have enabled researchers to image the genome with unprecedented spatial and temporal resolution. In this review, we focus on what single-molecule imaging and tracking of individual proteins in live cells have taught us about chromatin structure and dynamics. Starting with the basics of single-molecule tracking (SMT), we describe some advantages over in situ imaging techniques and its current limitations. Next, we focus on single-nucleosome studies and what they have added to our current understanding of the relationship between chromatin dynamics and transcription. In celebration of Robert Feulgen’s ground-breaking discovery that allowed us to start seeing the genome, we discuss current models of chromatin structure and future challenges ahead.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Similar content being viewed by others

Data availability

No datasets were generated or analysed during the current study.


Download references


D.M.P. thanks Dr. Tom Misteli for the invitation to contribute to this special issue and Robert Feulgen for opening the road to further developments. The authors thank Dr. Kaustubh Wagh and Prof. Valeria Levi for critical reading of the manuscript and insightful suggestions. This work is supported by CONICET and ANPCyT (PICT 2018 PRH 2018-0573). The authors want to express their concern over the threat that Argentinean Science is facing due to the major cuts in our National Agencies funding. Investment in Argentinean Science should be considered a cornerstone for the social and economic development of our country.


This article is funded by Agencia Nacional de Promoción de la Investigación, el Desarrollo Tecnológico y la Innovación, PICT 2018 PRH 2018–0573, PICT 2018 PRH 2018–0573, PICT 2018 PRH 2018–0573.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



D.M.P. devised the general structure of the manuscript and prepared Figs. 1–2 with input from all authors. D.M.P., B.B., A.L.F., and A.V.L. wrote the manuscript and surveyed the relevant literature. All authors reviewed the manuscript

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Diego M. Presman.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Springer Nature or its licensor (e.g. a society or other partner) holds exclusive rights to this article under a publishing agreement with the author(s) or other rightsholder(s); author self-archiving of the accepted manuscript version of this article is solely governed by the terms of such publishing agreement and applicable law.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Presman, D.M., Benítez, B., Lafuente, A.L. et al. Chromatin structure and dynamics: one nucleosome at a time. Histochem Cell Biol (2024).

Download citation

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • DOI: