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J Biol Chem. 2007 Nov 9;282(45):32867-76. Epub 2007 Aug 21.

Site-specific binding affinities within the H2B tail domain indicate specific effects of lysine acetylation.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14642, USA.


Acetylation of specific lysines within the core histone tail domains plays a critical role in regulating chromatin-based activities. However, the structures and interactions of the tail domains and the molecular mechanisms by which acetylation directly alters chromatin structures are not well understood. To address these issues we developed a chemical method to quantitatively determine binding affinities of specific regions within the individual tail domains in model chromatin complexes. Examinations of specific sites within the H2B tail domain indicate that this tail contains distinct structural elements and binds within nucleosomes with affinities that would reduce the activity of tail-binding proteins 10-50-fold from that deduced from peptide binding studies. Moreover, we find that mutations mimicking lysine acetylation do not cause a global weakening of tail-DNA interactions but rather the results suggest that acetylation leads to a much more subtle and specific alteration in tail interactions than has been assumed. In addition, we provide evidence that acetylation at specific sites in the tail is not additive with several events resulting in similar, localized changes in tail binding.

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