The ISW1 and CHD1 ATP-dependent chromatin remodelers compete to set nucleosome spacing in vivo

Nucleic Acids Res. 2016 Jun 2;44(10):4625-35. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkw068. Epub 2016 Feb 9.


Adenosine triphosphate-dependent chromatin remodeling machines play a central role in gene regulation by manipulating chromatin structure. Most genes have a nucleosome-depleted region at the promoter and an array of regularly spaced nucleosomes phased relative to the transcription start site. In vitro, the three known yeast nucleosome spacing enzymes (CHD1, ISW1 and ISW2) form arrays with different spacing. We used genome-wide nucleosome sequencing to determine whether these enzymes space nucleosomes differently in vivo We find that CHD1 and ISW1 compete to set the spacing on most genes, such that CHD1 dominates genes with shorter spacing and ISW1 dominates genes with longer spacing. In contrast, ISW2 plays a minor role, limited to transcriptionally inactive genes. Heavily transcribed genes show weak phasing and extreme spacing, either very short or very long, and are depleted of linker histone (H1). Genes with longer spacing are enriched in H1, which directs chromatin folding. We propose that CHD1 directs short spacing, resulting in eviction of H1 and chromatin unfolding, whereas ISW1 directs longer spacing, allowing H1 to bind and condense the chromatin. Thus, competition between the two remodelers to set the spacing on each gene may result in a highly dynamic chromatin structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Nucleosomes / chemistry*
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • CHD1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • ISW1 protein, S cerevisiae