A metastable structure for the compact 30nm chromatin fibre

Chenyi Wu, John Edward McGeehan, Andrew Travers

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The structure of compact 30-nm chromatin fibres is still debated. We present here a novel unified model that reconciles all experimental observations into a single framework. We propose that compact fibres are formed by the interdigitation of the two nucleosome stacks in a 2-start crossed-linker structure to form a single stack. This process requires that the dyad orientation of successive nucleosomes relative to the helical axis alternates. The model predicts that, as observed experimentally, the fibre-packing density should increase in a stepwise manner with increasing linker length. This model structure can also incorporate linker DNA of varying lengths.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)935-942
Number of pages8
JournalFEBS Letters
Issue number7
Early online date30 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • 30-nm fibre
  • chromatin structure
  • DNA supercoiling
  • interdigitation
  • nucleosome
  • RCUK
  • MRC
  • MC_U105178783


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