Frozen-hydrated chromatin from metaphase chromosomes has an interdigitated multilayer structure

Chicano, Andrea and Crosas, Eva and Otón, Joaquín and Melero, Roberto and Engel, Benjamin D. and Daban, Joan-Ramon. (2019) Frozen-hydrated chromatin from metaphase chromosomes has an interdigitated multilayer structure. The EMBO Journal, 38 (7). e99769.

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Cryo-electron tomography and small-angle X-ray scattering were used to investigate the chromatin folding in metaphase chromosomes. The tomographic 3D reconstructions show that frozen-hydrated chromatin emanated from chromosomes is planar and forms multilayered plates. The layer thickness was measured accounting for the contrast transfer function fringes at the plate edges, yielding a width of ~ 7.5 nm, which is compatible with the dimensions of a monolayer of nucleosomes slightly tilted with respect to the layer surface. Individual nucleosomes are visible decorating distorted plates, but typical plates are very dense and nucleosomes are not identifiable as individual units, indicating that they are tightly packed. Two layers in contact are ~ 13 nm thick, which is thinner than the sum of two independent layers, suggesting that nucleosomes in the layers interdigitate. X-ray scattering of whole chromosomes shows a main scattering peak at ~ 6 nm, which can be correlated with the distance between layers and between interdigitating nucleosomes interacting through their faces. These observations support a model where compact chromosomes are composed of many chromatin layers stacked along the chromosome axis.
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Biozentrum > Structural Biology & Biophysics > Structural Biology and Biophysics (Engel)
UniBasel Contributors:Engel, Ben
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:29 Aug 2022 15:53
Deposited On:23 Aug 2022 09:10

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