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Cell. 1979 Dec;18(4):1173-83.

A phase relationship associates tRNA structural gene sequences with nucleosome cores.


DNA (760 bp) isolated from nucleosome tetramers of staphylococcal nuclease-digested chicken embryo chromatin was highly enriched for tRNA genes and subsequently cloned in E. coli chi 1776. The location of genes coding for chicken embryo tRNALys, tRNAPhe and tRNAiMet within the cloned nucleosome tetramer DNA was determined using restriction endonucleases for which single cleavage sites could be predicted from the respective tRNA base sequence. All our tRNA genes reside nonrandomly at four locations on nucleosome tetramer DNA. The spacing between the tRNA gene locations is approximately 190 bp, similar to the DNA repeat length of chicken embryo chromatin. The four tRNA gene locations were also defined in noncloned nucleosome tetramer DNA highly enriched for tRNA genes. The majority of genes coding for tRNALys, tRNAPhe and tRNAiMet, respectively, are located in equal proportion 40-45, 230, 420 and 610 bp distant from the 5' end of the tRNA-identical strand. Thus the tRNA structural gene sequences all appear to begin about 20 bp "inside" the nucleosome core. As observed with nucleosomal DNA not enriched for tRNA genes, the phase relationship between tRNA genes and nucleosome location is maintained over a distance of 4-6 subsequent nucleosomes. A cloned molecule of nucleosomal DNA containing both a tRNALys gene and a tRNAiMet gene in the same polarity reveals that a phase adjustment might be necessary for the nucleosomes between these two tRNA genes in chicken embryo chromatin.

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