The organization of the nucleosome array is a critical component of the chromatin assembly into higher order structure as well as its function. Here, we investigated the contributions of the DNA sequence and internucleosomal interactions on the organization of the nucleosomal arrays in compact structures using atomic force microscopy. We assembled nucleosomes on DNA substrates allowing for the formation of tetranucleosomes. We found that nucleosomes are capable of close positioning with no discernible space between them, even in the case of assembled dinucleosomes. This morphology of the array is in contrast with that observed for arrays assembled with repeats of the nucleosome positioning motifs separated by uniform spacers. Simulated assembly of tetranucleosomes by random placement along the substrates revealed that nucleosome array compaction is promoted by the interaction of the nucleosomes. We developed a theoretical model to account for the role of DNA sequence and internucleosomal interactions in the formation of the nucleosome structures. These findings suggest that, in the chromatin assembly, the affinity of the nucleosomes to the DNA sequence and the strengths of the internucleosomal interactions are the two major factors defining the compactness of the chromatin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Surfaces, Coatings and Films
- Materials Chemistry