Nucleosomes inhibit the initiation of transcription but allow chain elongation with the displacement of histones

Cell. 1987 Apr 24;49(2):203-10. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(87)90561-7.

Abstract

Promoters were assembled in nucleosomes or ligated to nucleosomes and transcribed with SP6 RNA polymerase or with mammalian RNA polymerase II and accessory factors. Neither polymerase would initiate transcription at a promoter in a nucleosome, but once engaged in transcription, both polymerases were capable of reading through a nucleosome. In the course of readthrough transcription, the histones were displaced from the DNA, as shown by the exposure of restriction sites and by a shift of the template to the position of naked DNA in a gel. It may be true, in general, that processive enzymes will traverse regions of DNA organized in nucleosomes and displace histones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histones / physiology*
  • Nucleosomes / physiology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Templates, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic*

Substances

  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • RNA Polymerase II
  • DNA-Directed RNA Polymerases