DNA sequence-dependent variation in nucleosome structure, stability, and dynamics detected by a FRET-based analysis

L. Kelbauskas, Neal Woodbury, D. Lohr

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) techniques provide powerful and sensitive methods for the study of conformational features in biomolecules. Here, we review FRET-based studies of nucleosomes, focusing particularly on our work comparing the widely used nucleosome standard, 5S rDNA, and 2 promoter-derived regulatory element-containing nucleosomes, mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV)-B and GAL10. Using several FRET approaches, we detected significant DNA sequence-dependent structure, stability, and dynamics differences among the three. In particular, 5S nucleosomes and 5S H2A/H2B-depleted nucleosomal particles have enhanced stability and diminished DNA dynamics, compared with MMTV-B and GAL10 nucleosomes and particles. H2A/H2B-depleted nucleosomes are of interest because they are produced by the activities of many transcription-associated complexes. Significant location-dependent (intranucleosomal) stability and dynamics variations were also observed. These also vary among nucleosome types. Nucleosomes restrict regulatory factor access to DNA, thereby impeding genetic processes. Eukaryotic cells possess mechanisms to alter nucleosome structure, to generate DNA access, but alterations often must be targeted to specific nucleosomes on critical regulatory DNA elements. By endowing specific nucleosomes with intrinsically higher DNA accessibility and (or) enhanced facility for conformational transitions, DNA sequence-dependent nucleosome dynamics and stability variations have the potential to facilitate nucleosome recognition and, thus, aid in the crucial targeting process. This and other nucleosome structure and function conclusions from FRET analyses are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-335
Number of pages13
JournalBiochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009


  • FCS
  • FRET
  • H2A/H2B
  • Nucleosome stability
  • Sequence-dependent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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