DNA Structure and Replication

ID #1139

I have a question about the tails of histones. What are their functions? As I understood it, they modify histones? If yes, then what 3 chemical groups are used to modify the tails? And lastly, if tails are used in modification, why do histones need modification?

First, keep in mind that the tails are part of the primary sequence of the histone protein. So they don't modify histones, they are part of histones. Your hair doesn't modify you, but your hair can be modified. See the difference? By adding (or removing) combinations of phosphate groups, methyl groups, and acetyl groups, the tail is presenting a different signal to the cell, and the interpretation of that signal leads to packing or unwinding of the chromatin as needed.

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