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J Mol Biol. 1991 Jul 5;220(1):89-100.

Chromatosome positioning on assembled long chromatin. Linker histones affect nucleosome placement on 5 S rDNA.

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


Long chromatin containing linker histones H1 or H5 was assembled on tandemly repeated 172 or 207 base-pair nucleosome positioning sequences from a sea urchin 5 S RNA gene. The effects of H1 and H5 on spacing and positioning of nucleosomes were assessed. In the absence of linker histones, precise determinations of core particle boundaries showed that, although a large proportion of the histone octamers occupy a unique position, there is a small group of other, less populated sites located around this major site. The dominant position was found 10 to 15 base-pairs upstream from the unique position previously reported for the histone octamer on the monomer 260 base-pair sequence. Linker histones do not override the underlying DNA signals that induce the very regular spacing of nucleosomes in chromatins assembled on these strongly positioning multimer DNA sequences. They were nevertheless found to be decisive in determining the chromatosome positions and their distributions, and as such define the chromatosome as a positioning entity.

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