Sequential Salt Extractions for the Analysis of Bulk Chromatin Binding Properties of Chromatin Modifying Complexes

J Vis Exp. 2017 Oct 2;(128):55369. doi: 10.3791/55369.


Elucidation of the binding properties of chromatin-targeting proteins can be very challenging due to the complex nature of chromatin and the heterogeneous nature of most mammalian chromatin-modifying complexes. In order to overcome these hurdles, we have adapted a sequential salt extraction (SSE) assay for evaluating the relative binding affinities of chromatin-bound complexes. This easy and straightforward assay can be used by non-experts to evaluate the relative difference in binding affinity of two related complexes, the changes in affinity of a complex when a subunit is lost or an individual domain is inactivated, and the change in binding affinity after alterations to the chromatin landscape. By sequentially re-suspending bulk chromatin in increasing amounts of salt, we are able to profile the elution of a particular protein from chromatin. Using these profiles, we are able to determine how alterations in a chromatin-modifying complex or alterations to the chromatin environment affect binding interactions. Coupling SSE with other in vitro and in vivo assays, we can determine the roles of individual domains and proteins on the functionality of a complex in a variety of chromatin environments.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Female
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / chemistry
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • PBRM1 protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Sodium Chloride