Mechanistic studies on histone catalyzed cleavage of apyrimidinic/apurinic sites in nucleosome core particles. Academic Article uri icon


  • Duplex DNA containing an apurinic/apyrimidinic (AP) lesion undergoes cleavage significantly more rapidly in nucleosome core particles (NCPs) than it does when free. The mechanism of AP cleavage within NCPs was studied through independently generating lesions within them. AP mediated DNA cleavage within NCPs is initiated by DNA-protein cross-link (DPC(un)) formation followed by -elimination to give DPCs containing cleaved DNA (DPC(cl)). Hydrolysis of DPC(cl) produces a DNA single strand break (SSB). C2-dideuteration of AP showed that deprotonation from this position is involved in the rate-determining step. Experiments utilizing NCPs containing mutated histone H4 proteins indicated that lysine residues in the amino terminal tail are involved in both DPC formation and -elimination steps. Lysines 16 and 20 seem to play a greater role in reacting with AP at superhelical location 1.5, but other amino acids (e.g., lysines 5, 8, and 12) compensate in their absence. The mechanism of rapid double strand breaks in bistranded, clustered AP lesions was studied by independently preparing reaction intermediates within model NCPs. A single strand break on one strand enhances the cleavage of a proximal AP on the opposite strand.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, C., Sczepanski, J. T., & Greenberg, M. M.

citation count

  • 63

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Chuanzheng||Sczepanski, Jonathan T||Greenberg, Marc M

publication date

  • January 2012