Long-range correlations in genomic DNA: a signature of the nucleosomal structure

Phys Rev Lett. 2001 Mar 12;86(11):2471-4. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.86.2471.


We use the "wavelet transform microscope" to carry out a comparative statistical analysis of DNA bending profiles and of the corresponding DNA texts. In the three kingdoms, one reveals on both signals a characteristic scale of 100-200 bp that separates two different regimes of power-law correlations (PLC). In the small-scale regime, PLC are observed in eukaryotic, in double-strand DNA viral, and in archaeal genomes, which contrasts with their total absence in the genomes of eubacteria and their viruses. This strongly suggests that small-scale PLC are related to the mechanisms underlying the wrapping of DNA in the nucleosomal structure. We further speculate that the large scale PLC are the signature of the higher-order structure and dynamics of chromatin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biophysical Phenomena
  • Biophysics
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA, Archaeal / chemistry
  • DNA, Archaeal / genetics
  • DNA, Viral / chemistry
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Eukaryotic Cells
  • Genome
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleosomes / chemistry*
  • Nucleosomes / genetics*


  • DNA, Archaeal
  • DNA, Viral
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA