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      The role of DNA shape in protein-DNA recognition

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          The recognition of specific DNA sequences by proteins is thought to depend on two types of mechanisms: one that involves the formation of hydrogen bonds with specific bases, primarily in the major groove, and one involving sequence-dependent deformations of the DNA helix. By comprehensively analyzing the three dimensional structures of protein-DNA complexes, we show that the binding of arginines to narrow minor grooves is a widely used mode for protein-DNA recognition. This readout mechanism exploits the phenomenon that narrow minor grooves strongly enhance the negative electrostatic potential of the DNA. The nucleosome core particle offers a striking example of this effect. Minor groove narrowing is often associated with the presence of A-tracts, AT-rich sequences that exclude the flexible TpA step. These findings suggest that the ability to detect local variations in DNA shape and electrostatic potential is a general mechanism that enables proteins to use information in the minor groove, which otherwise offers few opportunities for the formation of base-specific hydrogen bonds, to achieve DNA binding specificity.

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          Most cited references 46

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          A genomic code for nucleosome positioning.

          Eukaryotic genomes are packaged into nucleosome particles that occlude the DNA from interacting with most DNA binding proteins. Nucleosomes have higher affinity for particular DNA sequences, reflecting the ability of the sequence to bend sharply, as required by the nucleosome structure. However, it is not known whether these sequence preferences have a significant influence on nucleosome position in vivo, and thus regulate the access of other proteins to DNA. Here we isolated nucleosome-bound sequences at high resolution from yeast and used these sequences in a new computational approach to construct and validate experimentally a nucleosome-DNA interaction model, and to predict the genome-wide organization of nucleosomes. Our results demonstrate that genomes encode an intrinsic nucleosome organization and that this intrinsic organization can explain approximately 50% of the in vivo nucleosome positions. This nucleosome positioning code may facilitate specific chromosome functions including transcription factor binding, transcription initiation, and even remodelling of the nucleosomes themselves.
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            Satisfying hydrogen bonding potential in proteins.

            We have analysed the frequency with which potential hydrogen bond donors and acceptors are satisfied in protein molecules. There are a small percentage of nitrogen or oxygen atoms that do not form hydrogen bonds with either solvent or protein atoms, when standard criteria are used. For high resolution structures 9.5% and 5.1% of buried main-chain nitrogen and oxygen atoms, respectively, fail to hydrogen bond under our standard criteria, representing 5.8% and 2.1% of all main-chain nitrogen and oxygen atoms. We find that as the resolution of the data improves, the percentages fall. If the hydrogen bond criteria are relaxed many of these unsatisfied atoms form weak hydrogen bonds. However, there remain some buried atoms (1.3% NH and 1.8% CO) that fail to hydrogen bond without any immediately obvious compensating interactions.
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              The structure of DNA in the nucleosome core.

              The 1.9-A-resolution crystal structure of the nucleosome core particle containing 147 DNA base pairs reveals the conformation of nucleosomal DNA with unprecedented accuracy. The DNA structure is remarkably different from that in oligonucleotides and non-histone protein-DNA complexes. The DNA base-pair-step geometry has, overall, twice the curvature necessary to accommodate the DNA superhelical path in the nucleosome. DNA segments bent into the minor groove are either kinked or alternately shifted. The unusual DNA conformational parameters induced by the binding of histone protein have implications for sequence-dependent protein recognition and nucleosome positioning and mobility. Comparison of the 147-base-pair structure with two 146-base-pair structures reveals alterations in DNA twist that are evidently common in bulk chromatin, and which are of probable importance for chromatin fibre formation and chromatin remodelling.

                Author and article information

                16 September 2009
                29 October 2009
                29 April 2010
                : 461
                : 7268
                : 1248-1253
                [1 ]Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, 1130 St. Nicholas Avenue, New York, NY 10032, USA
                [2 ]Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, 701 West 168 [th ] Street, HHSC 1104, New York, NY 10032, USA
                Author notes
                Author information Reprints and permissions information is available at npg.nature.com/reprintsandpermissions. Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to B.H. ( bh6@ 123456columbia.edu ) or R.S.M. ( rsm10@ 123456columbia.edu ).

                Present address: Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, School of Crystallography, Birkbeck College, Malet Street, London WC 1E 7HX, UK.


                These authors contributed equally to this work.

                Author contributions R.R., A.S., R.S.M. and B.H. contributed to the original conception of the project; S.M.W. and R.R. generated and analyzed the data assisted by P.L.; R.R., S.M.W., R.S.M. and B.H. wrote the manuscript.


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                Funded by: National Cancer Institute : NCI
                Award ID: U54 CA121852-05 ||CA



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