The interactions of DNA with histone H4 and with its fragments N-H4 (1-84) and C-H4 (85-102) have been studied by using electrooptical techniques, viscosity and electron microscopy. Electron microscopy reveals that histone H4 induces a large folding of DNA molecules; this is in agreement with electrooptical measurements which indicate that, with the increase of their ratio, H4/DNA complexes undergo a gradual process of condensation. Viscosity measurements show that complexes at ratios up to 0.20-0.25 become more rigid as compared to DNA. It appears that C-H4, and not the N-H4 fragment, causes a great distorsion to the structure of DNA, accompanied by an increase of rigidity at ratios up to 0.20-0.25, as occurs for H4/DNA complexes. Electrooptical studies of C-H4/DNA complexes show, along a range of histone/DNA ratios, an important permanent dipole component. These effects reveal a particular mode of interaction of C-H4 with DNA, indicating that some charged residues of the peptide are kept distant enough from the DNA backbone. As no dipole character, in addition to that shown for DNA, has been detected for H4/DNA complexes, it is concluded that the conformation of the H4 molecule modifies to some extent the interaction of the C-terminal region. Our results show that this histone, and particularly its C-terminal region, is important as a determinant factor in the folding of DNA within artificial complexes. © 1980 Masson, Paris.
- Anisotropy of electrical polarizability
- Electric birefringence
- Electric dichreism
- H4 histone peptides/DNA interactions
- Histone H4/DNA interactions