Identification of a Rapidly Formed Nonnucleosomal Histone-DNA Intermediate that Is Converted into Chromatin by ACF
Sharon E. Torigoe, Debra L. Urwin, Haruhiko Ishii, Douglas E. Smith, James T. Kadonaga
Chromatin assembly involves the combined action of histone chaperones and ATP-dependent motor proteins. Here, we investigate the mechanism of nucleosome assembly with a purified chromatin assembly system containing the histone chaperone NAP1 and the ATP-dependent motor protein ACF. These studies revealed the rapid formation of a stable nonnucleosomal histone-DNA intermediate that is converted into canonical nucleosomes by ACF. The histone-DNA intermediate does not supercoil DNA like a canonical nucleosome, but has a nucleosome-like appearance by atomic force microscopy. This intermediate contains all four core histones, lacks NAP1, and is formed by the initial deposition of histones H3-H4. Conversion of the intermediate into histone H1-containing chromatin results in increased resistance to micrococcal nuclease digestion. These findings suggest that the histone-DNA intermediate corresponds to nascent nucleosome-like structures, such as those observed at DNA replication forks. Related complexes might be formed during other chromatin-directed processes such as transcription, DNA repair, and histone exchange.