Dissection of the unusual structural and functional properties of the variant H2A.Bbd nucleosome

Cécile Marie Doyen, Fabien Montel, Thierry Gautier, Hervé Menoni, Cyril Claudet, Marlène Delacour-Larose, Dimitri Angelov, Ali Hamiche, Jan Bednar, Cendrine Faivre-Moskalenko, Philippe Bouvet, Stefan Dimitrov

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The histone variant H2A.Bbd appeared to be associated with active chromatin, but how it functions is unknown. We have dissected the properties of nucleosome containing H2A.Bbd. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and electron cryo-microscopy (cryo-EM) showed that the H2A.Bbd histone octamer organizes only ∼130 bp of DNA, suggesting that 10 bp of each end of nucleosomal DNA are released from the octamer. In agreement with this, the entry/exit angle of the nucleosomal DNA ends formed an angle close to 180° and the physico-chemical analysis pointed to a lower stability of the variant particle. Reconstitution of nucleosomes with swapped-tail mutants demonstrated that the N-terminus of H2A.Bbd has no impact on the nucleosome properties. AFM, cryo-EM and chromatin remodeling experiments showed that the overall structure and stability of the particle, but not its property to interfere with the SWI/SNF induced remodeling, were determined to a considerable extent by the H2A.Bbd docking domain. These data show that the whole H2A.Bbd histone fold domain is responsible for the unusual properties of the H2A.Bbd nucleosome.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4234-4244
Number of pages11
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number18
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sep 2006



  • Chromatin
  • H2A.Bbd
  • Histone variant
  • Nucleosome remodeling
  • Nucleosome stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

Cite this

Doyen, C. M., Montel, F., Gautier, T., Menoni, H., Claudet, C., Delacour-Larose, M., Angelov, D., Hamiche, A., Bednar, J., Faivre-Moskalenko, C., Bouvet, P., & Dimitrov, S. (2006). Dissection of the unusual structural and functional properties of the variant H2A.Bbd nucleosome. EMBO Journal, 25(18), 4234-4244. https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.emboj.7601310