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Condensation transition and forced unravelling of DNA-histone H1 toroids: a multi-state free energy landscape

Condensation transition and forced unravelling of DNA-histone H1 toroids: a multi-state free energy landscape

Journal of Physics. Condensed Matter 27(6): 064106

DNA is known to condense with multivalent cations and positively charged proteins. However, the properties and energetics of DNA superstructures, such as chromatin, are poorly understood. As a model system, we investigate histone H1 condensation of DNA with tethered particle motion and force-extension measurements. We show that after the addition of H1 to DNA, a concentration dependent lag time is followed by the DNA spontaneously condensing. The trigger for this condensation phase transition can be modeled as sufficient H1s having bound to the DNA, providing insight into the 30 nm fiber condensation upon H1 binding. Furthermore, optical tweezers force-extension measurements of histone H1 condensed DNA reveals a sequence of state transitions corresponding to the unwinding of superhelical turns. We determine the complete, experimental, multi-state free energy landscape for the complex using Crooks fluctuation theorem. The measured force-versus-extension and free energy landscape are compared to predictions from a simple, theoretical model. This work encourages the theoretical description of DNA/protein structure and energetics and their role in chromatin and other, more complex, systems.

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Accession: 057488019

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PMID: 25563346

DOI: 10.1088/0953-8984/27/6/064106

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