Genome maintenance mechanisms at the chromatin level

Hirotomo Takatsuka, Atsushi Shibata, Masaaki Umeda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Genome integrity is constantly threatened by internal and external stressors, in both animals and plants. As plants are sessile, a variety of environment stressors can damage their DNA. In the nucleus, DNA twines around histone proteins to form the higher-order structure “chromatin”. Unraveling how chromatin transforms on sensing genotoxic stress is, thus, key to understanding plant strategies to cope with fluctuating environments. In recent years, accumulating evidence in plant research has suggested that chromatin plays a crucial role in protecting DNA from genotoxic stress in three ways: (1) changes in chromatin modifications around damaged sites enhance DNA repair by providing a scaffold and/or easy access to DNA repair machinery; (2) DNA damage triggers genome-wide alterations in chromatin modifications, globally modulating gene expression required for DNA damage response, such as stem cell death, cell-cycle arrest, and an early onset of endoreplication; and (3) condensed chromatin functions as a physical barrier against genotoxic stressors to protect DNA. In this review, we highlight the chromatin-level control of genome stability and compare the regulatory systems in plants and animals to find out unique mechanisms maintaining genome integrity under genotoxic stress.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10384
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin
  • DNA damage
  • DNA double-strand break
  • DNA repair
  • Epigenetics
  • Genome integrity
  • Histone acetylation
  • Histone methylation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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