Dynamic Chromatin Regulation from a Single Molecule Perspective
Chromatin regulatory processes, like all biological reactions, are dynamic and stochastic in nature but can give rise to stable and inheritable changes in gene expression patterns. A molecular understanding of those processes is key for fundamental biological insight into gene regulation, epigenetic inheritance, lineage determination, and therapeutic intervention in the case of disease. In recent years, great progress has been made in identifying important molecular players involved in key chromatin regulatory pathways. Conversely, we, are only beginning to understand the dynamic interplay between protein effectors, transcription factors, and the chromatin substrate itself. Single-molecule approaches employing both highly defined chromatin substrates in vitro, as well as direct observation of complex regulatory processes in vivo, open new avenues for a molecular view of chromatin regulation. This review highlights recent applications of single-molecule methods and related techniques to investigate fundamental chromatin regulatory processes.