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EMBO J. 1993 Dec;12(12):4603-13.

Chromatin transitions during activation and repression of galactose-regulated genes in yeast.

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Institut für Zellbiologie, ETH-Hönggerberg, Zürich, Switzerland.


To study the fate of nucleosomes during transcription, a yeast gene 'GAL-URARIB' was constructed which is tightly regulated by the GAL1 promoter and shows in its inactive state a series of positioned nucleosomes that are sensitive for monitoring structural changes by micrococcal nuclease. Upon transcriptional activation, nucleosome positions were lost, but a residual nucleosomal repeat with an altered repeat length and no changes in psoralen accessibility measured by a band shift assay indicated that nucleosomes were present but rearranged on the transcribed gene. When chromatin was prepared 10 or 50 min after glucose repression, nucleosomes were repositioned in a large fraction of the population by a rapid process which most likely did not depend on histone synthesis or DNA replication. However, complete regeneration of the inactive structure and repeat length was observed after one cell generation (2.5 h) suggesting that in this step some missing histones were replaced. The results are consistent with a local dissociation of nucleosomes at the site of the polymerase followed by a rapid reassembly into nucleosomes behind it. The data are further supported by analysis of the chromosomal GAL1, GAL7 and GAL10 genes.

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