The fundamental subunit of chromatin, the nucleosome, is not a static entity but can move along DNA via either thermal or enzyme-driven movements. Here we have monitored the movements of nucleosomes following deposition at well-defined locations on mouse mammary tumor virus promoter DNA. We found that the sites to which nucleosomes are deposited during chromatin assembly differ from those favored during thermal equilibration. Taking advantage of this, we were able to track the movement of nucleosomes over 156 bp and found that this proceeds via intermediate positions spaced between 46 and 62 bp. The remodeling enzyme ISWI was found to direct the movement of nucleosomes to sites related to those observed during thermal mobilization. In contrast, nucleosome mobilization driven by the SWI/SNF and RSC complexes were found to drive nucleosomes towards sites up to 51 bp beyond DNA ends, with little respect for the sites favored during thermal repositioning. The dynamic properties of nucleosomes we describe are likely to influence their role in gene regulation.
- Enzyme mobilization
- Thermal mobilization