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Elife. 2012 Dec 13;1:e00078. doi: 10.7554/eLife.00078.

Chromatin is an ancient innovation conserved between Archaea and Eukarya.

Author information

1
Department of Molecular Genetics , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada ; Donnelly Centre , University of Toronto , Toronto , Canada.

Abstract

The eukaryotic nucleosome is the fundamental unit of chromatin, comprising a protein octamer that wraps ∼147 bp of DNA and has essential roles in DNA compaction, replication and gene expression. Nucleosomes and chromatin have historically been considered to be unique to eukaryotes, yet studies of select archaea have identified homologs of histone proteins that assemble into tetrameric nucleosomes. Here we report the first archaeal genome-wide nucleosome occupancy map, as observed in the halophile Haloferax volcanii. Nucleosome occupancy was compared with gene expression by compiling a comprehensive transcriptome of Hfx. volcanii. We found that archaeal transcripts possess hallmarks of eukaryotic chromatin structure: nucleosome-depleted regions at transcriptional start sites and conserved -1 and +1 promoter nucleosomes. Our observations demonstrate that histones and chromatin architecture evolved before the divergence of Archaea and Eukarya, suggesting that the fundamental role of chromatin in the regulation of gene expression is ancient.DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00078.001.

KEYWORDS:

Archaea; Chromatin; Haloferax volcanii; Nucleosome; Other; RNA-seq; Transcriptome

PMID:
23240084
PMCID:
PMC3510453
DOI:
10.7554/eLife.00078
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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