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J Mol Biol. 1991 Jul 5;220(1):101-10.

Mobility of positioned nucleosomes on 5 S rDNA.

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Department of Biological Chemistry, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


We report on a dynamic aspect of nucleosome positioning, in the absence of transcription-related events, on sea urchin 5 S rDNA. On tandem repeats of nucleosome length DNA of this strongly positioning sequence, histone octamers assemble in one dominant position surrounded by minor positions, ten base-pairs apart and therefore with identical rotational setting of the DNA coil. The existence of this cluster of positions, determined using micrococcal nuclease is confirmed by the results from DNase I footprinting and restriction enzyme analysis. The results from these techniques and from two-dimensional nucleoprotein polyacrylamide gel analysis indicate that the cluster of octamer positions is in dynamic equilibrium, in low ionic conditions, suggesting that the minor positions reflect fluctuations around the major nucleosome site. Histone octamer mobility appears to be temperature dependent and is reversibly inhibited by Mg2+.

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