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The essential histone variant H2A.Z regulates the equilibrium between different chromatin conformational states

  • An Erratum to this article was published on 01 April 2002

Abstract

Explaining the determinants involved in regulating the equilibrium between different chromatin structural states is fundamental to understanding differential gene expression. Histone variant H2A.Z is essential to chromatin architecture in higher eukaryotes but its role has not yet been explained. We show here that H2A.Z facilitates the intramolecular folding of nucleosomal arrays while simultaneously inhibiting the formation of highly condensed structures that result from intermolecular association. This makes a case for H2A.Z playing a fundamental role in creating unique chromatin domains poised for transcriptional activation. These results provide new insights into understanding how chromatin fiber dynamics can be altered by core histone variants to potentially regulate genomic function.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by a Human Frontier Science Program grant to K.L. and D.J.T., and an NIH grant to J.C.H.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Correspondence to David John Tremethick.

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Figure 1: Characterization of H2A- (control) and H2A.Z-containing nucleosomal arrays.
Figure 2: H2A.Z facilitates the intrinsic 29S–55S folding pathway.
Figure 3: H2A.Z inhibits the formation of highly condensed chromatin fibers.
Figure 4: H2A.Z alters nucleosome positioning.