The first step towards the eukaryotic nuclear DNA compaction process is the formation of a nucleosome, which comprises of the negatively charged DNA wrapped around a positively charged histone protein octamer. Often, it is assumed that the complexation of the DNA into the nucleosome completely attenuates the DNA charge and hence the electrostatic field generated by the molecule. In contrast, theoretical and computational studies suggest that the nucleosome retains a strong, negative electrostatic field. Despite their fundamental implications for chromatin organization and function, these opposing views of nucleosome electrostatics have not been experimentally tested. Herein, we directly measure nucleosome electrostatics and find that while nucleosome formation reduces the complex charge by half, the nucleosome nevertheless maintains a strong negative electrostatic field. Our studies highlight the importance of considering the polyelectrolyte nature of the nucleosome and its impact on processes ranging from factor binding to DNA compaction.
All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in the manuscript and supporting files. Source data and source code files have been provided for Figures 3 and 4.
- Daniel Herschlag
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Sebastian Deindl, Uppsala University, Sweden
© 2019, Gebala et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
The localization of condensin along chromosomes is crucial for their accurate segregation in anaphase. Condensin is enriched at telomeres but how and for what purpose had remained elusive. Here, we show that fission yeast condensin accumulates at telomere repeats through the balancing acts of Taz1, a core component of the shelterin complex that ensures telomeric functions, and Mit1, a nucleosome remodeler associated with shelterin. We further show that condensin takes part in sister-telomere separation in anaphase, and that this event can be uncoupled from the prior separation of chromosome arms, implying a telomere-specific separation mechanism. Consistent with a cis-acting process, increasing or decreasing condensin occupancy specifically at telomeres modifies accordingly the efficiency of their separation in anaphase. Genetic evidence suggests that condensin promotes sister-telomere separation by counteracting cohesin. Thus, our results reveal a shelterin-based mechanism that enriches condensin at telomeres to drive in cis their separation during mitosis.
Cohesin is a trimeric complex containing a pair of SMC proteins (Smc1 and Smc3) whose ATPase domains at the end of long coiled coils (CC) are interconnected by Scc1. During interphase, it organizes chromosomal DNA topology by extruding loops in a manner dependent on Scc1’s association with two large hook-shaped proteins called SA (yeast: Scc3) and Nipbl (Scc2). The latter’s replacement by Pds5 recruits Wapl, which induces release from chromatin via a process requiring dissociation of Scc1’s N-terminal domain (NTD) from Smc3. If blocked by Esco (Eco)-mediated Smc3 acetylation, cohesin containing Pds5 merely maintains pre-existing loops, but a third fate occurs during DNA replication, when Pds5-containing cohesin associates with Sororin and forms structures that hold sister DNAs together. How Wapl induces and Sororin blocks release has hitherto remained mysterious. In the 20 years since their discovery, not a single testable hypothesis has been proposed as to their role. Here, AlphaFold 2 (AF) three-dimensional protein structure predictions lead us to propose formation of a quarternary complex between Wapl, SA, Pds5, and Scc1’s NTD, in which the latter is juxtaposed with (and subsequently sequestered by) a highly conserved cleft within Wapl’s C-terminal domain. AF also reveals how Scc1’s dissociation from Smc3 arises from a distortion of Smc3’s CC induced by engagement of SMC ATPase domains, how Esco acetyl transferases are recruited to Smc3 by Pds5, and how Sororin prevents release by binding to the Smc3/Scc1 interface. Our hypotheses explain the phenotypes of numerous existing mutations and are highly testable.