Nelson, T., Hsieh, T. S. and Brutlag, D. (1979). Extracts of Drosophila embryos mediate chromatin assembly in vitro. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 76(11), 5510-4.

Extracts of Drosophila embryos mediate chromatin assembly in vitro.

T. Nelson, T. S. Hsieh & D. Brutlag

Department of Biochemistry, Beckman Center, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA 94305-5307.

Extracts of Drosophila embryos can mediate the assembly of a chromatinlike structure from histones and DNA under physiological conditions. The histone-DNA complex formed in vitro contains micrococcal nuclease-sensitive sites spaced at 200-base pair intervals. More extensive digestion of the complex by micrococcal nuclease generates 11S particles which cosediment with nucleosome core particles isolated from native chromatin. These particles contain 140-base pair DNA fragments which upon further cleavage with micrococcal nuclease give rise to a pattern of discretely sized DNA fragments characteristic of nucleosome core particles. We have assayed the chromatin assembly process both qualitatively by measuring the induction of supertwists into a relaxed circular DNA (a process requiring a nicking-closing enzyme) and quantitatively by measuring the formation of micrococcal nuclease-resistant DNA fragments from radioactively labeled linear DNA. The amount of chromatin formed depends primarily on the amount of histones, whereas the rate of assembly depends on the amount of extract protein added. The factors in the extract that mediate chromatin assembly appear to interact first with the DNA because preincubation of the DNA with the extract markedly increases the extent of assembly.

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