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J Mol Biol. 1994 Feb 25;236(3):685-90.

Nucleosome structural changes due to acetylation.

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Department of Microbiology, State University of New York, Stony Brook 11794-5222.


We have measured the helical repeat of acetylated nucleosomes reconstituted with HeLa cell histone octamers and the 5 S RNA gene positioning sequence from Xenopus borealis. The hydroxyl radical footprinting experiments show that the helical repeat of nucleosome-bound DNA is unchanged upon acetylation, and that the extent of DNA-protein contacts remains unaltered. These results, combined with previous determinations of the linking number change in minichromosomes as a function of the extent of acetylation, are analyzed with surface linking theory. We demonstrate that the shape of the nucleosome changes upon acetylation, in such a way as to decrease the number of times the DNA winds around the nucleosome central axis.

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