Relevance of arginines in the mode of binding of H1 histones to DNA

Marina Piscopo, Mariachiara Conte, Flaviano Di Paola, Salvatore Conforti, Gina Rana, Luciano De Petrocellis, Laura Fucci, Giuseppe Geraci

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The mode of binding of sperm and somatic H1 histones to DNA has been investigated by analyzing the effect of their addition on the electrophoretic mobility of linear and circular plasmid molecules. Low concentrations of sperm histones do not appear to alter the electrophoretic mobility of DNA, whereas at increasing concentrations, an additional DNA band is observed near the migration origin. This band then becomes the only component at higher values. In contrast, somatic histones cause a gradual retardation in the mobility of the DNA band at low concentrations and aggregated structures are observed only at higher values. Experiments on the H1 globular domain obtained by limited proteolysis indicate that the mode of binding to DNA depends on the H1 globular domain. The arginine residues appear to be relevant for the different effects as indicated by experiments on sperm histone and on protamine with arginines deguanidinated to ornithines. The modified molecules influence DNA mobility like somatic H1s, indicating that the positive guanidino groups of arginines cannot be substituted by the positive amino groups of ornithines. Modifications of the amino groups of lysines show that these residues are necessary for the binding of H1 histones to DNA but they have no influence on the binding mode.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-347
Number of pages9
JournalDNA and Cell Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cell Biology


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