Structural analysis of nucleosomal barrier to transcription

Daria A. Gaykalova, Olga I. Kulaeva, Olesya Volokh, Alexey K. Shaytan, Fu Kai Hsieh, Mikhail P. Kirpichnikov, Olga S. Sokolova, Vasily M. Studitsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Thousands of human and Drosophila genes are regulated at the level of transcript elongation and nucleosomes are likely targets for this regulation. However, the molecular mechanisms of formation of the nucleosomal barrier to transcribing RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and nucleosome survival during/after transcription remain unknown. Here we show that both DNA-histone interactions and Pol II backtracking contribute to formation of the barrier and that nucleosome survival during transcription likely occurs through allosterically stabilized histone-histone interactions. Structural analysis indicates that after Pol II encounters the barrier, the enzyme backtracks and nucleosomal DNA recoils on the octamer, locking Pol II in the arrested state. DNA is displaced from one of the H2A/H2B dimers that remains associatedwith the octamer. The data reveal the importance of intranucleosomal DNA-protein and protein-protein interactions during conformational changes in the nucleosome structure on transcription. Mechanisms of nucleosomal barrier formation and nucleosome survival during transcription are proposed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E5787-E5795
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015


  • Backtracking
  • Chromatin
  • Elongation
  • RNA polymerase II
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Structural analysis of nucleosomal barrier to transcription'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this