Metal cations are associated with many biological processes. The effects of these cations on nucleic acids and chromatin were extensively studied in the early stages of nucleic acid and chromatin research. The results revealed that some monovalent and divalent metal cations, including Mg2+, profoundly affect the conformations and stabilities of nucleic acids, the folding of chromatin fibers, and the extent of chromosome condensation. Apart from these effects, there have only been a few reports on the functions of these cations. In 2007 and 2013, however, Mg2+-implicated novel phenomena were found: Mg2+ facilitates or enables both self-assembly of identical double-stranded (ds) DNA molecules and self-assembly of identical nucleosomes in vitro. These phenomena may be deeply implicated in the heterochromatin domain formation and chromatin-based phase separation. Furthermore, a recent study showed that elevation of the intranuclear Mg2+ concentration causes unusual differentiation of mouse ES (embryonic stem) cells. All of these phenomena seem to be closely related to one another. Mg2+ seems to be a key regulator of chromatin dynamics and chromatin-based biological processes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry