Nucleic acids and chromatin
Nucleic acids and chromatin

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Nucleic acids and chromatin

7.3 The eukaryotic chromosome

Whilst the bulk of eukaryotic DNA is packaged by proteins different from those in the eubacterial chromosome, the principles of bending DNA and neutralising the negative charges in its backbone are shared. Eukaryotic cells have considerably larger genomes than do prokaryotes (in most cases over 1000 times the size of the E. coli genome – see Table 1) and the DNA is found in the form of long linear chromosomes which are partitioned from the rest of the cell, within the nucleus.

Several degrees of DNA packaging and compaction are found within the eukaryotic nucleus, primarily reflecting the transcriptional and structural status of the DNA. The extent of DNA packaging also varies according to the stage of the cell cycle. For example, immediately prior to cell division, the DNA is particularly compacted and forms highly condensed structures suitable for physical separation at mitosis. The different degrees of packaging will be discussed later, but for now we will focus on the major protein components of eukaryotic chromatin, the histones.

S377_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus