Tetrameric structure of centromeric nucleosomes in interphase Drosophila cells.

Yamini Dalal, Hongda Wang, Stuart Lindsay, Steven Henikoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

181 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Centromeres, the specialized chromatin structures that are responsible for equal segregation of chromosomes at mitosis, are epigenetically maintained by a centromere-specific histone H3 variant (CenH3). However, the mechanistic basis for centromere maintenance is unknown. We investigated biochemical properties of CenH3 nucleosomes from Drosophila melanogaster cells. Cross-linking of CenH3 nucleosomes identifies heterotypic tetramers containing one copy of CenH3, H2A, H2B, and H4 each. Interphase CenH3 particles display a stable association of approximately 120 DNA base pairs. Purified centromeric nucleosomal arrays have typical "beads-on-a-string" appearance by electron microscopy but appear to resist condensation under physiological conditions. Atomic force microscopy reveals that native CenH3-containing nucleosomes are only half as high as canonical octameric nucleosomes are, confirming that the tetrameric structure detected by cross-linking comprises the entire interphase nucleosome particle. This demonstration of stable half-nucleosomes in vivo provides a possible basis for the instability of centromeric nucleosomes that are deposited in euchromatic regions, which might help maintain centromere identity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPLoS Biology
Volume5
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2007

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nucleosomes
Nucleosomes
Interphase
interphase
Drosophila
Centromere
centromeres
cells
crosslinking
Chromosome Segregation
chromosome segregation
atomic force microscopy
Atomic Force Microscopy
Chromosomes
Drosophila melanogaster
Mitosis
histones
Base Pairing
Histones
mitosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Tetrameric structure of centromeric nucleosomes in interphase Drosophila cells. / Dalal, Yamini; Wang, Hongda; Lindsay, Stuart; Henikoff, Steven.

In: PLoS Biology, Vol. 5, No. 8, 08.2007.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Dalal, Yamini ; Wang, Hongda ; Lindsay, Stuart ; Henikoff, Steven. / Tetrameric structure of centromeric nucleosomes in interphase Drosophila cells. In: PLoS Biology. 2007 ; Vol. 5, No. 8.
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