Ultraviolet damage and nucleosome folding of the 5S ribosomal RNA gene

Xiaoqi Liu, David B. Mann, Christine Suquet, David L. Springer, Michael J. Smerdon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The Xenopus borealis somatic 5S ribosomal RNA gene was used as a model system to determine the mutual effects of nucleosome folding and formation of ultraviolet (UV) photoproducts (primarily cis-syn cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers, or CPDs) in chromatin. We analyzed the preferred rotational and translational settings of 5S rDNA on the histone octamer surface after induction of up to 0.8 CPD/nucleosome core (2.5 kJ/m2 UV dose). DNase I and hydroxyl radical footprints indicate that UV damage at these levels does not affect the average rotational setting of the 5S rDNA molecules. Moreover, a combination of nuclease trimming and restriction enzyme digestion indicates the preferred translational positions of the histone octamer are not affected by this level of UV damage. We also did not observe differences in the UV damage patterns of irradiated 5S rDNA before or after nucleosome formation, indicating there is little difference in the inhibition of nucleosome folding by specific CPD sites in the 5S rRNA gene. Conversely, nucleosome folding significantly restricts CPD formation at all sites in the three helical turns of the nontranscribed strand located in the dyad axis region of the nucleosome, where DNA is bound exclusively by the histone H3-H4 tetramer. Finally, modulation of the CPD distribution in a 14 nt long pyrimidine tract correlates with its rotational setting on the histone surface, when the strong sequence bias for CPD formation in this tract is minimized by normalization. These results help establish the mutual roles of histone binding and UV photoproducts on their formation in chromatin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-566
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 25 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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