Binding of the RNA polymerase I transcription complex to its promoter can modify positioning of downstream nucleosomes assembled in vitro

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We have studied the reconstitution of chromatin-like structures in vitro, using purified RNA polymerase I transcription complexes and histone octamers. The plasmid construct used in these studies is a pUC8 derivative in which we have inserted an RNA polymerase I core promoter region of Acanthamoeba castellanii upstream of four repeats of the 5 S rDNA nucleosome positioning sequence (208 base pairs) from Lytechinus variegatus. When histone octamers were reconstituted onto the naked DNA template, the expected nucleosome positioning previously observed using tandem repeats of the same 208-base pair fragment was not obtained (as assayed by restriction enzyme digestion mapping of the inserted region of the plasmid). We show that the location of the RNA polymerase I core promoter region with regard to the tandemly repeated 208-base pair positioning sequence is a major determinant in the positioning of the histone octamers. Reconstituting first with the stalled transcription complex excluded octamers from the promoter region and recovered the expected nucleosome positioning downstream on the four repeats of the 5 S positioning sequence. The observed competition between histone octamers and the transcription complex for the promoter region suggests a great similarity with what has been reported from in vitro studies of RNA polymerase II and III transcription systems. We may be looking at a mechanism of regulation of transcription for the RNA polymerase.


Copyright © 1993 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. All rights reserved.