31437-12 , 2016-09 , Nature Publishing Group
Nucleosome breathing potentially increases the DNA exposure, which in turn recruits DNA-binding protein and regulates gene transcription. Numerous studies have shown the critical roles of N-terminal tails of histones H3 and H4 in gene expression; however, few studies have focused on the H2A C-terminal tail. Here we present thorough computational studies on a single nucleosome particle showing the linker DNA closing and opening, which is thought to be nucleosome breathing. With our simulation, the H2A C-terminal and H3 N-terminal tails were found to modulate the nucleosome conformation differently. The H2A C-terminal tail regulates nucleosome conformation by binding to linker DNA at different locations, whereas the H3 N-terminal tail regulates linker DNA by binding to it in different patterns. Further MD simulation on tail truncated structures corroborates this analysis. These findings replenish our understanding of the histone tail regulation mechanism on atomic level.