The "Transcription/Chromatin" annual meeting theme will contain sessions titled: "Structural Transitions in Chromatin - An Exploration of Mechanisms," "Alternative Chromatin Structures," "RNA Polymerase Pausing and Elongation" and "Transcriptional Regulation in Growth, Differentiation and Diseases." The meeting will be held April 9-13, 2011, in Washington, D.C. (Titled "Chromatin and Transcription: A Symbiotic Relationship" in print version.)
Transcription and chromatin always have had an intimate, if somewhat unbalanced, relationship. During most of the past three decades, transcription meetings have featured only a somewhat decorative chromatin-related session. Most of the excitement has been in describing TBP, TAFs, transcription initiation apparatus and gene activation mechanisms that impinge on this apparatus. Gradually, the balance tipped when the central role of chromatin was pushed to the foreground through the discovery of transcription activators that serve as histone acetyltransferases. Since then, the roles of numerous posttranslational modifications of histones in transcriptional control have been elucidated. Most recently, things have been as they should be in a good relationship: The two subjects have been on an equal footing, with lots of communication and synergies between them. Their distinction has become blurred, and we have realized that eukaryotic transcription, in all its complexity, functions in the context of chromatin and is regulated by its multilayered structural organization. Likewise, chromatin structure is responsive to complicated manipulations by the cellular machinery that make the DNA more or less accessible for the transcriptional apparatus.
In the upcoming thematic session titled “Transcription/Chromatin,” we have chosen topics that echo this symbiotic relationship. A session titled “Structural Transitions in Chromatin - An Exploration of Mechanisms” will highlight cutting-edge technologies devoted to studying the complexity of chromatin structure beyond the nucleosome.
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Michelle D. Wang (Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Cornell University) will discuss mechanical studies of nucleosome stability and structure and how DNA in nucleosomes may be accessed by motor proteins that are responsible for transcription-related chromatin remodeling. Michael G. Poirier (The Ohio State University) will present studies of post-translational modifications located within the DNA-histone interface, revealing that they function to controllably unlock different forms of nucleosome dynamics. And, James McNally (National Institutes of Health) will discuss progress in measuring transcription factor dynamics at specific promoters, and throughout the genome, using light microscopy in the living cell.