FACT Remodels the Tetranucleosomal Unit of Chromatin Fibers for Gene Transcription

Wei Li, Ping Chen, Juan Yu, Liping Dong, Dan Liang, Jianxun Feng, Jie Yan, Peng Ye Wang, Qing Li, Zhiguo Zhang, Ming Li, Guohong Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


In eukaryotes, the packaging of genomic DNA into chromatin plays a critical role in gene regulation. However, the dynamic organization of chromatin fibers and its regulatory mechanisms remain poorly understood. Using single-molecule force spectroscopy, we reveal that the tetranucleosomes-on-a-string appears as a stable secondary structure during hierarchical organization of chromatin fibers. The stability of the tetranucleosomal unit is attenuated by histone chaperone FACT (facilitates chromatin transcription) in vitro. Consistent with in vitro observations, our genome-wide analysis further shows that FACT facilitates gene transcription by destabilizing the tetranucleosomal unit of chromatin fibers in yeast. Additionally, we found that the linker histone H1 not only enhances the stability but also facilitates the folding and unfolding kinetics of the outer nucleosomal wrap. Our study demonstrates that the tetranucleosome is a regulatory structural unit of chromatin fibers beyond the nucleosome and provides crucial mechanistic insights into the structure and dynamics of chromatin fibers during gene transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular Cell
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 6 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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