Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Biochemistry: Unspooling DNA from nucleosomal disks

Date:
May 23, 2013
Source:
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU)
Summary:
The tight wrapping of genomic DNA around nucleosomes in the cell nucleus makes it unavailable for gene expression. This study describes a mechanism that allows chromosomal DNA to be locally displaced from nucleosomes for transcription.

The tight wrapping of genomic DNA around nucleosomes in the cell nucleus makes it unavailable for gene expression. A team at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munich now describes a mechanism that allows chromosomal DNA to be locally displaced from nucleosomes for transcription.

In higher organisms the genomic DNA is stored in the cell nucleus, wrapped around disk-shaped particles called nucleosomes, each consisting of two pairs of four different histone proteins and accommodating two loops of DNA. Packed in this way to form chromatin, the DNA is protected, but it is inaccessible to the enzymes that mediate DNA transcription, repair and its replication. However, so-called chromatin-remodeling factors, including histone chaperones, ensure that chromatin is maintained in a dynamic state by locally modifying nucleosome structure, interacting with histone subunits and detaching stretches of the packaged DNA from the nucleosome core.

One such factor is the FACT complex which, unlike other histone chaperones, is essential for cell division and DNA repair. FACT interacts specifically with the H2A-H2B histone dimer, which forms part of the canonical nucleosomal particle. "However, until now, we had no structural insight into how these histones are recognized, and how this interaction between FACT and H2A-H2B relates to other biological functions of the FACT complex" says Professor Andreas Ladurner, who is at the LMU's Adolf Butenandt Institute. "So basically, we had no real idea what a reorganized nucleosome might look like."

FACT masks a DNA-binding site To close this gap in our knowledge, Ladurner and his colleagues first looked at the structure of the H2A-H2B-binding domain of the FACT complex on its own. "This analysis provided some hints as to how FACT might interact with its histone partners, but not enough information to allow us to propose a molecular mechanism for the reorganization of nucleosomes," reports Maria Hondele, first author of the new study. "However, using high-resolution X-ray crystallography, we were ultimately able to determine the structure of the whole complex formed between FACT and the histone dimer."

The conformation of the complex revealed that binding of FACT blocks a site on the histone dimer that has a high affinity for DNA. This interaction releases the DNA from the nucleosome sufficiently to permit gene transcription to proceed past the nucleosome. "And in contrast to the conventional view, this mechanism works without unwrapping the DNA completely from the nucleosome," says Ladurner. Thus, the new study affords detailed insights into the mechanisms underlying the dynamic regulation of chromatin accessibility in the cell nucleus.

The work was supported by EU funding through the FP6 Marie Curie Research & Training Network "Chromatin Plasticity," and grants from the DFG to Collaborative Research Center 646 and the Excellence Clusters SyNergy and CIPSM.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria Hondele, Tobias Stuwe, Markus Hassler, Felix Halbach, Andrew Bowman, Elisa T. Zhang, Bianca Nijmeijer, Christiane Kotthoff, Vladimir Rybin, Stefan Amlacher, Ed Hurt, Andreas G. Ladurner. Structural basis of histone H2A–H2B recognition by the essential chaperone FACT. Nature, 2013; DOI: 10.1038/nature12242

Cite This Page:

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Biochemistry: Unspooling DNA from nucleosomal disks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523083048.htm>.
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). (2013, May 23). Biochemistry: Unspooling DNA from nucleosomal disks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 15, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523083048.htm
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet Muenchen (LMU). "Biochemistry: Unspooling DNA from nucleosomal disks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130523083048.htm (accessed September 15, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 15, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Respiratory Virus Spreads To Northeast, Now In 21 States

Newsy (Sep. 14, 2014) The respiratory virus Enterovirus D68, which targets children, has spread from the Midwest to 21 states. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Shocker: Journalists Are Utterly Addicted To Coffee

Newsy (Sep. 13, 2014) A U.K. survey found that journalists consumed the most amount of coffee, but that's only the tip of the coffee-related statistics iceberg. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Contagious Respiratory Illness Continues to Spread Across U.S.

Reuters - US Online Video (Sep. 12, 2014) Hundreds of children in several states have been stricken by a serious respiratory illness that is spreading across the U.S. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Ebola Batters Sierra Leone Economy Too

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 12, 2014) The World Health Organisation warns that local health workers in West Africa can't keep up with Ebola - and among those countries hardest hit by the outbreak, the economic damage is coming into focus, too. As David Pollard reports, Sierra Leone admits that growth in one of the poorest economies in the region is taking a beating. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

    Technology News



    Save/Print:
    Share:

    Free Subscriptions


    Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

    Get Social & Mobile


    Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

    Have Feedback?


    Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
    Mobile: iPhone Android Web
    Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
    Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
    Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins