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Mol Cell. 2001 Oct;8(4):841-53.

The crystal structure of nucleoplasmin-core: implications for histone binding and nucleosome assembly.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Boston University School of Medicine, 700 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA.


The efficient assembly of histone complexes and nucleosomes requires the participation of molecular chaperones. Currently, there is a paucity of data on their mechanism of action. We now present the structure of an N-terminal domain of nucleoplasmin (Np-core) at 2.3 A resolution. The Np-core monomer is an eight-stranded beta barrel that fits snugly within a stable pentamer. In the crystal, two pentamers associate to form a decamer. We show that both Np and Np-core are competent to assemble large complexes that contain the four core histones. Further experiments and modeling suggest that these complexes each contain five histone octamers which dock to a central Np decamer. This work has important ramifications for models of histone storage, sperm chromatin decondensation, and nucleosome assembly.

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