Constructing arrays of nucleosome positioning sequences using Gibson Assembly for single-molecule studies

Dian Spakman, Graeme A. King*, Erwin J.G. Peterman, Gijs J.L. Wuite

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


As the basic building blocks of chromatin, nucleosomes play a key role in dictating the accessibility of the eukaryotic genome. Consequently, nucleosomes are involved in essential genomic transactions such as DNA transcription, replication and repair. In order to unravel the mechanisms by which nucleosomes can influence, or be altered by, DNA-binding proteins, single-molecule techniques are increasingly employed. To this end, DNA molecules containing a defined series of nucleosome positioning sequences are often used to reconstitute arrays of nucleosomes in vitro. Here, we describe a novel method to prepare DNA molecules containing defined arrays of the ‘601’ nucleosome positioning sequence by exploiting Gibson Assembly cloning. The approaches presented here provide a more accessible and efficient means to generate arrays of nucleosome positioning motifs, and facilitate a high degree of control over the linker sequences between these motifs. Nucleosomes reconstituted on such arrays are ideal for interrogation with single-molecule techniques. To demonstrate this, we use dual-trap optical tweezers, in combination with fluorescence microscopy, to monitor nucleosome unwrapping and histone localisation as a function of tension. We reveal that, although nucleosomes unwrap at ~20 pN, histones (at least histone H3) remain bound to the DNA, even at tensions beyond 60 pN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9903
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date18 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020


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