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The imitation switch (ISWI) family of chromatin remodelling ATPases is found in organisms ranging from yeast to mammals. ISWI ATPases assemble chromatin and slide and space nucleosomes, making the chromatin template fluid and allowing appropriate regulation of events such as transcription, DNA replication, recombination and repair. The site of action of the ATPases is determined, in part by the tissue type in which the enzyme is expressed and in part by the nature of the proteins associated with the enzyme. The ISWI complexes are generally conserved in composition and function across species. Roles in gene expression and DNA replication in heterochromatin, gene activation and repression in euchromatin, and functions related to maintaining chromosome architecture are associated with different complexes. Defects in ISWI-associated proteins may be associated with neurodegenerative disease, anencephaly, William's syndrome and melanotic tumours. Finally, the mechanism by which yeast Isw Ib influences gene transcription is discussed.


Journal article


Ernst Schering Res Found Workshop

Publication Date



61 - 87


Adenosine Triphosphatases, Animals, Chromatin, Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly, DNA Replication, Gene Expression Regulation, Histones, Humans, Macromolecular Substances, Repressor Proteins, Transcription Factors, Transcriptional Activation