Send to

Choose Destination
J Mol Biol. 2007 Aug 24;371(4):971-88. Epub 2007 Jun 2.

Protein-protein Förster resonance energy transfer analysis of nucleosome core particles containing H2A and H2A.Z.

Author information

School of Molecular Biosciences, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-4660, USA.


A protein-protein Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) system, employing probes at multiple positions, was designed to specifically monitor the dissociation of the H2A-H2B dimer from the nucleosome core particle (NCP). Tryptophan donors and Cys-AEDANS acceptors were chosen because, compared to previous NCP FRET fluorophores, they: (1) are smaller and less hydrophobic, which should minimize perturbations of histone and NCP structure; and (2) have an R0 of 20 A, which is much less than the dimensions of the NCP (approximately 50 A width and approximately 100 A diameter). Equilibrium protein unfolding titrations indicate that the donor and acceptor moieties have minimal effects on the stability of the H2A-H2B dimer and (H3-H4)2 tetramer. NCPs containing the various FRET pairs were reconstituted with the 601 DNA positioning element. Equilibrium NaCl-induced dissociation of the modified NCPs showed that the 601 sequence stabilized the NCP to dimer dissociation relative to weaker positioning sequences. This finding implies a significant role for the H2A-H2B dimers in determining the DNA sequence dependence of NCP stability. The free energy of dissociation determined from reversible and well-defined sigmoidal transitions revealed two distinct phases reflecting the dissociation of individual H2A-H2B dimers, confirming cooperativity as suggested previously; these data allow quantitative description of the cooperativity. The FRET system was then used to study the effects of the histone variant H2A.Z on NCP stability; previous studies have reported both destabilizing and stabilizing effects. H2A.Z FRET NCP dissociation transitions suggest a slight increase in stability but a significant increase in cooperativity of the dimer dissociations. Thus, the utility of this protein-protein FRET system to monitor the effects of histone variants on NCP dynamics has been demonstrated, and the system appears equally well-suited for dissection of the kinetic processes of dimer association and dissociation from the NCP.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center