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Nature. 1996 Feb 29;379(6568):844-7.

DNA-binding properties of the yeast SWI/SNF complex.

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Program in Molecular Medicine and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical Centre, Worcester, 01605, USA.


The SWI/SNF complex is required for the enhancement of transcription by many transcriptional activators in yeast. Genetic and biochemical studies indicate that the complex facilitates activator function by antagonizing chromatin-mediated transcriptional repression. The absence of known DNA-binding motifs in several SWI/SNF subunits and the failure to identify SWI/SNF-dependent DNA-binding activities in crude yeast extracts have led to the belief that the complex does not bind DNA. Here we show that the SWI/SNF complex has a high affinity for DNA and that its DNA-binding properties are similar to those of proteins containing HMG-box domains. The complex interacts with the minor groove of the DNA helix, binds synthetic four-way junction DNA, and introduces positive supercoils into relaxed plasmid DNA. These properties are likely to be important in the remodelling of chromatin structure by the SWI/SNF complex.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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