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Gene. 1995 May 19;157(1-2):247-51.

Does hypomethylation of linker DNA play a role in chromatin condensation.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Technologies, University of L'Aquila, Italy.


The inhibitory effect that H1 histone exerts on the in vitro DNA methylation process, catalysed by mammalian DNA methyltransferase, together with the relative hypomethylation of linker DNA in eukaryotic cells chromatin, suggest that this hypomethylated state of linker DNA can be of importance in allowing or regulating H1-dependent chromatin condensation. In native oligonucleosomes (olnu), i.e., in chromatin fragments consisting of 5-20 nucleosomes each, there was a correlation between the effects of H1 on the DNA ellipticity at 280 nm and the in vitro assayed methyl-accepting ability. The same was true in H1-depleted or in H1-reconstituted preparations. Artificial methylation caused olnu DNA to lose its ability to allow cooperative H1-H1 interactions under ionic strength conditions similar to those known to affect the transition of the 10-nm filament to the 30-nm chromatin fiber. These results suggest that hypomethylation of linker DNA plays a role in the H1-H1 interactions that are needed for solenoid condensation.

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