Date: 21 Nov 2011

Assaying Chromatin Structure and Remodeling by Restriction Enzyme Accessibility

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Abstract

The packaging of eukaryotic DNA into nucleosomes, the fundamental unit of chromatin, creates a barrier to nuclear processes, such as transcription, DNA replication, recombination, and repair. This obstructive nature of chromatin can be overcome by the enzymatic activity of chromatin remodeling complexes, which create a more favorable environment for the association of essential factors and regulators to sequences within target genes. Here, we describe a detailed approach for analyzing chromatin architecture and remodeling by restriction endonuclease hypersensitivity assay. This procedure uses restriction endonucleases to characterize changes in chromatin that accompany nucleosome remodeling. The specific experimental example described in this article is the BRG1 complex-dependent chromatin remodeling of the steroid hormone-responsive mouse mammary tumor virus promoter. Through the use of these methodologies one is able to quantify changes at specific nucleosomes in response to regulatory signals.