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The nucleosome core particle (NCP) is the fundamental building block of chromatin which compacts approximately 146 bp of DNA around a core histone protein octamer. The effects of NCP packaging on long-range DNA charge transport reactions have not been adequately assessed to date. Here we study DNA hole transport reactions in a 157 bp DNA duplex (AQ-157TG) incorporating multiple repeats of the DNA TG-motif, a strong NCP positioning sequence and a covalently attached Anthraquinone photooxidant. Following a thorough biophysical characterization of the structure of AQ-157TG NCPs by Exonuclease III and hydroxyl radical footprinting, we compared the dynamics of DNA charge transport in ultraviolet-irradiated free and NCP-incorporated AQ-157TG. Compaction into a NCP changes the charge transport dynamics in AQ-157TG drastically. Not only is the overall yield of oxidative lesions decreased in the NCPs, but the preferred sites of oxidative damage change as well. This NCP-dependent attenuation of DNA charge transport is attributed to DNA-protein interactions involving the folded histone core since removal of the histone tails did not perturb the charge transport dynamics in AQ-157TG NCPs.


Chad C Bjorklund, William B Davis. Attenuation of DNA charge transport by compaction into a nucleosome core particle. Nucleic acids research. 2006;34(6):1836-46

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PMID: 16595797

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