Nucleosome Arrays Reveal the Two-Start Organization of the Chromatin Fiber

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Science  26 Nov 2004:
Vol. 306, Issue 5701, pp. 1571-1573
DOI: 10.1126/science.1103124

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Chromatin folding determines the accessibility of DNA constituting eukaryotic genomes and consequently is profoundly important in the mechanisms of nuclear processes such as gene regulation. Nucleosome arrays compact to form a 30-nanometer chromatin fiber of hitherto disputed structure. Two competing classes of models have been proposed in which nucleosomes are either arranged linearly in a one-start higher order helix or zigzag back and forth in a two-start helix. We analyzed compacted nucleosome arrays stabilized by introduction of disulfide cross-links and show that the chromatin fiber comprises two stacks of nucleosomes in accord with the two-start model.

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