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A charged and contoured surface on the nucleosome regulates chromatin compaction


Local nucleosome-nucleosome interactions in cis drive chromatin folding, whereas interactions in trans lead to fiber-fiber oligomerization. Here we show that peptides derived from the histone H4 tail and Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus LANA protein can replace the endogenous H4 tail, resulting in array folding and oligomerization. Neutralization of a LANA binding site on the histone surface enhanced rather than abolished nucleosome-nucleosome interactions. We maintain that the contoured nucleosome surface is centrally involved in regulating chromatin condensation.

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Figure 1: LANA1–23 promotes chromatin self-association.
Figure 2: A negatively charged region on the surface of the nucleosome acts as a repulsive domain.
Figure 3: The H4 tail and LANA peptide act in trans to promote self-association and folding.


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We thank P.N. Dyer for help with the preparation of histones and DNA. Supported by US National Institutes of Health grants GM067777 to K.L., CA82036 to K.M.K. and GM45916 to J.C.H. K.L. is also supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

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Correspondence to Karolin Luger.

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Chodaparambil, J., Barbera, A., Lu, X. et al. A charged and contoured surface on the nucleosome regulates chromatin compaction. Nat Struct Mol Biol 14, 1105–1107 (2007).

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