Flexible histone tails in a new mesoscopic oligonucleosome model.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We describe a new mesoscopic model of oligonucleosomes that incorporates flexible histone tails. The nucleosome cores are modeled using the discrete surface-charge optimization model, which treats the nucleosome as an electrostatic surface represented by hundreds of point charges; the linker DNAs are treated using a discrete elastic chain model; and the histone tails are modeled using a bead/chain hydrodynamic approach as chains of connected beads where each bead represents five protein residues. Appropriate charges and force fields are assigned to each histone chain so as to reproduce the electrostatic potential, structure, and dynamics of the corresponding atomistic histone tails at different salt conditions. The dynamics of resulting oligonucleosomes at different sizes and varying salt concentrations are simulated by Brownian dynamics with complete hydrodynamic interactions. The analyses demonstrate that the new mesoscopic model reproduces experimental results better than its predecessors, which modeled histone tails as rigid entities. In particular, our model with flexible histone tails: correctly accounts for salt-dependent conformational changes in the histone tails; yields the experimentally obtained values of histone-tail mediated core/core attraction energies; and considers the partial shielding of electrostatic repulsion between DNA linkers as a result of the spatial distribution of histone tails. These effects are crucial for regulating chromatin structure but are absent or improperly treated in models with rigid histone tails. The development of this model of oligonucleosomes thus opens new avenues for studying the role of histone tails and their variants in mediating gene expression through modulation of chromatin structure.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Arya, G; Zhang, Q; Schlick, T

Published Date

  • July 2006

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 91 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 133 - 150

PubMed ID

  • 16603492

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC1479056

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1542-0086

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-3495

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1529/biophysj.106.083006


  • eng