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Genome Biol. 2010;11(5):R51. doi: 10.1186/gb-2010-11-5-r51. Epub 2010 May 12.

Nucleosome rotational setting is associated with transcriptional regulation in promoters of tissue-specific human genes.

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  • 1Dyogen Group, Institut de Biologie de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS), 46 rue d'Ulm, CNRS UMR8197, INSERM U1024, 75005 Paris Cedex 05, France. charles.hebert@gmail.com



The position of a nucleosome, both translational along the DNA molecule and rotational between the histone core and the DNA, is controlled by many factors, including the regular occurrence of specific dinucleotides with a period of approximately 10 bp, important for the rotational setting of the DNA around the histone octamer.


We show that such a 10 bp periodic signal of purine-purine dinucleotides occurs in phase with the transcription start site (TSS) of human genes and is centered on the position of the first (+1) nucleosome downstream of the TSS. These data support a direct link between transcription and the rotational setting of the nucleosome. The periodic signal is most prevalent in genes that contain CpG islands that are expressed at low levels in a tissue-specific manner and are involved in the control of transcription.


These results, together with several lines of evidence from the recent literature, support a new model whereby the +1 nucleosome could be more efficiently disassembled from gene promoters by H3K56 acetylation marks if the periodic signal specifies an optimal rotational setting.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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