Analysis of the mechanism of nucleosome survival during transcription

Han Wen Chang, Olga I. Kulaeva, Alexey K. Shaytan, Mikhail Kibanov, Konstantin Kuznedelov, Konstantin V. Severinov, Mikhail P. Kirpichnikov, David J. Clark, Vasily M. Studitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Maintenance of nucleosomal structure in the cell nuclei is essential for cell viability, regulation of gene expression and normal aging. Our previous data identified a key intermediate (a small intranucleosomal DNA loop, Ø-loop) that is likely required for nucleosome survival during transcription by RNA polymerase II (Pol II) through chromatin, and suggested that strong nucleosomal pausing guarantees efficient nucleosome survival. To evaluate these predictions, we analysed transcription through a nucleosome by different, structurally related RNA polymerases and mutant yeast Pol II having different histone-interacting surfaces that presumably stabilize the Ø-loop. The height of the nucleosomal barrier to transcription and efficiency of nucleosome survival correlate with the net negative charges of the histone-interacting surfaces. Molecular modeling and analysis of Pol II-nucleosome intermediates by DNase I footprinting suggest that efficient Ø-loop formation and nucleosome survival are mediated by electrostatic interactions between the largest subunit of Pol II and core histones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1619-1627
Number of pages9
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes


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