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Biophys J. 2005 Nov;89(5):3647-59. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

Compaction kinetics on single DNAs: purified nucleosome reconstitution systems versus crude extract.

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Laboratoire PhysicoChimie Curie, Institut Curie, CNRS UMR 168, 75248 Paris, France.


Kinetics of compaction on single DNA molecules are studied by fluorescence videomicroscopy in the presence of 1), Xenopus egg extracts and 2), purified nucleosome reconstitution systems using a combination of histones with either the histone chaperone Nucleosome Assembly Protein (NAP-1) or negatively charged macromolecules such as polyglutamic acid and RNA. The comparison shows that the compaction rates can differ by a factor of up to 1000 for the same amount of histones, depending on the system used and on the presence of histone tails, which can be subjected to post-translational modifications. Reactions with purified reconstitution systems follow a slow and sequential mechanism, compatible with the deposition of one (H3-H4)(2) tetramer followed by two (H2A-H2B) dimers. Addition of the histone chaperone NAP-1 increases both the rate of the reaction and the packing ratio of the final product. These stimulatory effects cannot be obtained with polyglutamic acid or RNA, suggesting that yNAP-1 impact on the reaction cannot simply be explained in terms of charge screening. Faster compaction kinetics and higher packing ratios are reproducibly reached with extracts, indicating a role of additional components present in this system. Data are discussed and models proposed to account for the kinetics obtained in our single-molecule assay.

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