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Nucleic Acids Res. 1976 Feb;3(2):477-92.

Heterogeneity of chromatin subunits in vitro and location of histone H1.


Chromatin subunits ("nucleosomes") which were purified by sucrose gradient centrifugation of a staphylococcal nuclease digest of chromatin have been studied. We found that such a preparation contains nucleosomes of two discrete types which can be separated from each other by polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Nucleosome of the first type contains all five histones and a DNA segment of approximately 200 base pairs long, whereas nucleosome of the second type lacks histone H1 and its DNA segment is approximately 170 base pairs long, i.e., about 30 base pairs shorter than the DNA segment of the nucleosome of the first type. Purified dimer of the nucleosome also can be fractionated by gel electrophoresis into three discrete bands which correspond to dinucleosomes containing two molecules of histone H1, one and no H1. These and related findings strongly suggest that the H1 molecule is bound to a short (approximately 30 base pairs) terminal stretch of the nucleosomal DNA segment which can be removed by nuclease (possibly in the form of H1-DNA complex) without any significant disturbance of main structural features of the nucleosome.

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