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Genes Dev. 1992 Mar;6(3):411-25.

Stable nucleosome positioning and complete repression by the yeast alpha 2 repressor are disrupted by amino-terminal mutations in histone H4.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cellular and Developmental Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Nucleosomes are positioned in the presence of the yeast repressor alpha 2 in minichromosomes containing the alpha 2 operator and on the promoters of a-cell-specific genes regulated by alpha 2. To investigate the possibility that alpha 2 directs nucleosome position through an interaction with a component of the core particle, we analyzed chromatin structures adjacent to the operator in alpha cells containing mutations in the amino-terminal region of histone H4. Deletion or point mutation of specific amino acids in histone H4 altered the location and/or stability of nucleosomes adjacent to the alpha 2 operator. These changes in chromatin structure were accompanied by partial derepression of a beta-galactosidase reporter construct under alpha 2 control, even though alpha 2 remained bound to its operator sequence. Our data suggest that complete repression by alpha 2 requires stable positioning of nucleosomes in promoter regions and this positioning involves the conserved amino-terminal region of histone H4.

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