Dr. Henikoff discusses some of the gaps in our understanding of transcription and chromatin that still need to be filled in.
The Unknowns of RNA Polymerase-Nucleosome Interactions
Well, you would think with so much work done on the relationship between transcription and chromatin, the fact that there’s so many meetings on it and all. We know a lot about how let’s say RNA polymerase can affect nucleosomes. We still don’t know, for example, though, what happens when RNA polymerase goes through a nucleosome. It gets a bit vague for a while, and then the nucleosome reappears. So there’s that.
And then there’s also the other aspect, and this is something that we are ourselves working on, which is how does the nucleosome affect transcription? So the other way around. And that has been assumed, but actually when it comes down to the nitty-gritty, we don’t actually have any direct evidence as to what’s going on there. And that’s something that I think is an open question we’d really like to understand.
“We still don’t know, for example, though, what happens when RNA polymerase goes through a nucleosome. It gets a bit vague for a while, and then the nucleosome reappears.”
So it’s interesting that what I’m talking about are basic questions that were asked decades ago and we’re still trying to get down to the nitty-gritty of it. We still don’t know.