The histone chaperone chromatin assembly factor 1 (CAF-1) deposits two nascent histone H3/H4 dimers onto newly replicated DNA forming the central core of the nucleosome known as the tetrasome. How CAF-1 ensures there is sufficient space for the assembly of tetrasomes remains unknown. Structural and biophysical characterization of the lysine/glutamic acid/arginine-rich (KER) region of CAF-1 revealed a 128-Å single alpha-helix (SAH) motif with unprecedented DNA-binding properties. Distinct KER sequence features and length of the SAH drive the selectivity of CAF-1 for tetrasome-length DNA and facilitate function in budding yeast. In vivo, the KER coop-erates with the DNA-binding winged helix domain in CAF-1 to overcome DNA damage sensitivity and maintain silencing of gene expression. We propose that the KER SAH links functional domains within CAF-1 with structural precision, acting as a DNA-binding spacer element during chromatin assembly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)