DNA-Histone Cross-Link Formation via Hole Trapping in Nucleosome Core Particles

Tingyu Wen, Maxime Kermarrec, Elise Dumont, Natacha Gillet, Marc M. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Radical cations (holes) produced in DNA by ionizing radiation and other oxidants yield DNA-protein cross-links (DPCs). Detailed studies of DPC formation in chromatin via this process are lacking. We describe here a comprehensive examination of DPC formation within nucleosome core particles (NCPs), which are the monomeric component of chromatin. DNA holes are introduced at defined sites within NCPs that are constructed from the bottom-up. DPCs form at DNA holes in yields comparable to those of alkali-labile DNA lesions that result from water trapping. DPC-forming efficiency and site preference within the NCP are dependent on translational and rotational positioning. Mass spectrometry and the use of mutant histones reveal that lysine residues in histone N-terminal tails and amino termini are responsible for the DPC formation. These studies are corroborated by computational simulation at the microsecond time scale, showing a wide range of interactions that can precede DPC formation. Three consecutive dGs, which are pervasive in the human genome, including G-quadruplex-forming sequences, are sufficient to produce DPCs that could impact gene expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23702-23714
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number43
StatePublished - Nov 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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