GSBS Student Publications


Mechanical disruption of individual nucleosomes reveals a reversible multistage release of DNA

GSBS Program

Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

UMMS Affiliation

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Program in Molecular Medicine; Program in Gene Function and Expression



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Animals; Birds; Chromatin; DNA; Histones; Kinetics; Models, Biological; Nucleosomes; Time Factors


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The dynamic structure of individual nucleosomes was examined by stretching nucleosomal arrays with a feedback-enhanced optical trap. Forced disassembly of each nucleosome occurred in three stages. Analysis of the data using a simple worm-like chain model yields 76 bp of DNA released from the histone core at low stretching force. Subsequently, 80 bp are released at higher forces in two stages: full extension of DNA with histones bound, followed by detachment of histones. When arrays were relaxed before the dissociated state was reached, nucleosomes were able to reassemble and to repeat the disassembly process. The kinetic parameters for nucleosome disassembly also have been determined.

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Citation: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):1960-5. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

PubMed ID