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Cell. 1986 Apr 11;45(1):95-104.

The presence of nucleosomes on a DNA template prevents initiation by RNA polymerase II in vitro.


RNA was synthesized in vitro using HeLa cell nuclear extracts and circular DNA templates onto which varying numbers of nucleosomes had been reconstituted with Xenopus oocyte extracts. We found that fully reconstituted templates supported no specific initiation by RNA polymerase II; however, DNA exposed to the reconstitution extracts under conditions which did not allow nucleosome deposition was transcribed normally. A set of successively less reconstituted templates was also transcribed. No initiation occurred on reconstitutes with more than two-thirds of the physiological nucleosome density; reconstitutes with less than one-third of the physiological nucleosome density were transcribed as efficiently as naked DNA.

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