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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 May;27(10):3557-68. Epub 2007 Mar 5.

The nucleosome assembly activity of NAP1 is enhanced by Alien.

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Institute of Human Genetics and Anthropology, Friedrich Schiller University, 07740 Jena, Germany.


The assembly of nucleosomes into chromatin is essential for the compaction of DNA and inactivation of the DNA template to modulate and repress gene expression. The nucleosome assembly protein 1, NAP1, assembles nucleosomes independent of DNA synthesis and was shown to enhance coactivator-mediated gene expression, suggesting a role for NAP1 in transcriptional regulation. Here, we show that Alien, known to harbor characteristics of a corepressor of nuclear hormone receptors such as of the vitamin D receptor (VDR), binds in vivo and in vitro to NAP1 and modulates its activity by enhancing NAP1-mediated nucleosome assembly on DNA. Furthermore, Alien reduces the accessibility of the histones H3 and H4 for NAP1-promoted assembly reaction. This indicates that Alien sustains and reinforces the formation of nucleosomes. Employing deletion mutants of Alien suggests that different regions of Alien are involved in enhancement of NAP1-mediated nucleosome assembly and in inhibiting the accessibility of the histones H3 and H4. In addition, we provide evidence that Alien is associated with chromatin and with micrococcus nuclease-prepared nucleosome fractions and interacts with the histones H3 and H4. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation and reimmunoprecipitation experiments suggest that NAP1 and Alien localize to the endogenous CYP24 promoter in vivo, a VDR target gene. Based on these findings, we present here a novel pathway linking corepressor function with nucleosome assembly activity.

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