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The organization of histones and dna in chromatin evidence for an arginine rich kernel

, : The organization of histones and dna in chromatin evidence for an arginine rich kernel. Cell 8(3): 333-347

The roles of various histones in the organization of the DNA of the nucleosome were examined, using staphylococcal nuclease as a probe of DNA conformation from duck erythrocyte nuclei. When this enzyme attacks chromatin, a series of fragments evenly spaced at 10 base pair intervals is generated, reflecting the histone-DNA interactions within the nucleosome structure. To determine what contribution the various histones make to DNA organization, the staphylococcal nuclease digestion patterns of DNA-purified histone complexes were studied. Virtually all possible combinations of homogeneous histones were reconstituted onto DNA. Exhaustive digestion of a complex containing the 4 histones H2A, H2B, H3 and H4 yields a DNA fragment pattern very similar to that of whole chromatin. The only combinations of histones capable of inducing chromatin-like DNA organization are H2A/H2B/H4 and those mixtures containing both H3 and H4. From an examination of the kinetics of digestion of H3/H4 reconstitutes, it was concluded that although the other histones have a role in DNA organization within the nucleosome, the arginine-rich histone pair, H3/H4, can organize DNA segments the length of the nucleosome core in the absence of all other histones.

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