Modulation of higher order chromatin conformation in mammalian cell nuclei can be mediated by polyamines and divalent cations

Ashwat Visvanathan, Kashif Ahmed, Liron Even-Faitelson, David Lleres, David P. Bazett-Jones, Angus I. Lamond

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    Abstract

    The organisation of the large volume of mammalian genomic DNA within cell nuclei requires mechanisms to regulate chromatin compaction involving the reversible formation of higher order structures. The compaction state of chromatin varies between interphase and mitosis and is also subject to rapid and reversible change upon ATP depletion/repletion. In this study we have investigated mechanisms that may be involved in promoting the hyper-condensation of chromatin when ATP levels are depleted by treating cells with sodium azide and 2-deoxyglucose. Chromatin conformation was analysed in both live and permeabilised HeLa cells using FLIM-FRET, high resolution fluorescence microscopy and by electron spectroscopic imaging microscopy. We show that chromatin compaction following ATP depletion is not caused by loss of transcription activity and that it can occur at a similar level in both interphase and mitotic cells. Analysis of both live and permeabilised HeLa cells shows that chromatin conformation within nuclei is strongly influenced by the levels of divalent cations, including calcium and magnesium. While ATP depletion results in an increase in the level of unbound calcium, chromatin condensation still occurs even in the presence of a calcium chelator. Chromatin compaction is shown to be strongly affected by small changes in the levels of polyamines, including spermine and spermidine. The data are consistent with a model in which the increased intracellular pool of polyamines and divalent cations, resulting from depletion of ATP, bind to DNA and contribute to the large scale hyper-compaction of chromatin by a charge neutralisation mechanism.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number e67689
    Number of pages16
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Volume8
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

    Keywords

    • SELF-ASSOCIATION
    • H3 TAIL DOMAIN
    • PROTEIN
    • IN-SITU
    • ARCHITECTURE
    • FIBERS
    • DYNAMICS
    • LIVING CELLS
    • HELA-CELLS
    • NUCLEOSOME ARRAYS

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