Mapping nucleosome position at single base-pair resolution by using site-directed hydroxyl radicals

Andrew Flaus, Karolin Luger, Song Tan, Timothy J. Richmond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

152 Scopus citations


A base-pair resolution method for determining nucleosome position in vitro has been developed to complement existing, less accurate methods. Cysteaminyl EDTA was tethered to a recombinant histone octamer via a mutant histone H4 with serine 47 replaced by cysteine. When assembled into nucleosome core particles, the DNA could be cut site specifically by hydroxyl radical-catalyzed chain scission by using the Fenton reaction. Strand cleavage occurs mainly at a single nucleotide close to the dyad axis of the core particle, and assignment of this location via the symmetry of the nucleosome allows base-pair resolution mapping of the histone octamer position on the DNA. The positions of the histone octamer and H3H4 tetramer were mapped on a 146-bp Lytechinus variegatus 5S rRNA sequence and a twofold-symmetric derivative. The weakness of translational determinants of nucleosome positioning relative to the overall affinity of the histone proteins for this DNA is clearly demonstrated. The predominant location of both histone octamer and H3H4 tetramer assembled on the 5S rDNA is off center. Shifting the nucleosome core particle position along DNA within a conserved rotational phase could be induced under physiologically relevant conditions. Since nucleosome shifting has important consequences for chromatin structure and gene regulation, an approach to the thermodynamic characterization of this movement is proposed. This mapping method is potentially adaptable for determining nucleosome position in chromatin in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1370-1375
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 20 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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