The detailed structure and dynamics of the chromatin fibre and their relation to gene regulation represent important open biological questions. Recent advances in single-molecule force spectroscopy experiments have addressed these questions by directly measuring the forces that stabilize and alter the folded states of chromatin, and by investigating the mechanisms of fibre unfolding. We present examples that demonstrate how complementary modelling approaches have helped not only to interpret the experimental findings, but also to advance our knowledge of force-induced events such as unfolding of chromatin with dynamically bound linker histones and nucleosome unwrapping.

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