Single-molecule force spectroscopy reveals a highly compliant helical folding for the 30-nm chromatin fiber

Maarten Kruithof, Fan Tso Chien, Andrew Routh, Colin Logie, Daniela Rhodes, John Van Noort

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

171 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The compaction of eukaryotic DNA into chromatin has been implicated in the regulation of all DNA processes. To unravel the higher-order folding of chromatin, we used magnetic tweezers and probed the mechanical properties of single 197-bp repeat length arrays of 25 nucleosomes. At forces up to 4 pN, the 30-nm fiber stretches like a Hookian spring, resulting in a three-fold extension. Together with a high nucleosome-nucleosome stacking energy, this points to a solenoid as the underlying topology of the 30-nm fiber. Unexpectedly, linker histones do not affect the length or stiffness of the fiber but stabilize its folding. Fibers with a nucleosome repeat length of 167 bp are stiffer, consistent with a two-start helical arrangement. The observed high compliance causes extensive thermal breathing, which forms a physical basis for the balance between DNA condensation and accessibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)534-540
Number of pages7
JournalNature Structural and Molecular Biology
Volume16
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

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Nucleosomes
Chromatin
DNA
Histones
Compliance
Respiration
Hot Temperature
Single Molecule Imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Single-molecule force spectroscopy reveals a highly compliant helical folding for the 30-nm chromatin fiber. / Kruithof, Maarten; Chien, Fan Tso; Routh, Andrew; Logie, Colin; Rhodes, Daniela; Van Noort, John.

In: Nature Structural and Molecular Biology, Vol. 16, No. 5, 05.2009, p. 534-540.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kruithof, Maarten ; Chien, Fan Tso ; Routh, Andrew ; Logie, Colin ; Rhodes, Daniela ; Van Noort, John. / Single-molecule force spectroscopy reveals a highly compliant helical folding for the 30-nm chromatin fiber. In: Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. 2009 ; Vol. 16, No. 5. pp. 534-540.
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