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Aggregation of nucleosomes by divalent cations.

Authors
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biophysical journal
Publication Date
Volume
81
Issue
2
Pages
1127–1132
Identifiers
PMID: 11463653
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

Conditions of precipitation of nucleosome core particles (NCP) by divalent cations (Ca(2+) and Mg(2+)) have been explored over a large range of nucleosome and cation concentrations. Precipitation of NCP occurs for a threshold of divalent cation concentration, and redissolution is observed for further addition of salt. The phase diagram looks similar to those obtained with DNA and synthetic polyelectrolytes in the presence of multivalent cations, which supports the idea that NCP/NCP interactions are driven by cation condensation. In the phase separation domain the effective charge of the aggregates was determined by measurements of their electrophoretic mobility. Aggregates formed in the presence of divalent cations (Mg(2+)) remain negatively charged over the whole concentration range. They turn positively charged when aggregation is induced by trivalent (spermidine) or tetravalent (spermine) cations. The higher the valency of the counterions, the more significant is the reversal of the effective charge of the aggregates. The sign of the effective charge has no influence on the aspect of the phase diagram. We discuss the possible reasons for this charge reversal in the light of actual theoretical approaches.

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