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ATP as an alternative inhibitor of bacterial and endogenous nucleases and its effect on native chromatin compaction

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The studies reported here demonstrate that ATP may be used in lieu of EDTA to inhibit nuclease digestion of DNA and chromatin. Because ATP is a milder chelator than EDTA and is a biochemical common to the cellular microenvironment in vivo, critical studies of cellular processes that require native structure to be maintained are more feasible without the presence of strong chelators. During the digestion of chromatin into its components by nuclease treatment, ATP assures the retention of nucleoprotein compaction, particularly for large to intermediate-sized oligosomes (2400bp–1000bp in length). ATP used at a concentration of 3.3 mM appears to be somewhat better than EDTA, 1.0 mM, for minimizing degradation of nuclease-treated chromatin. However, termination of nuclease digestion of chromatin and minimization of further degradation by the addition of ATP to a concentration of 1.0 mM was almost equivalent to the addition of EDTA to a concentration of 1.0 mM. Slightly more degradation was observed for the latter condition. In addition, ATP can be used to inhibit endogenous nuclease activity when specific restriction enzymes are needed. Standard low ionic strength DNP, deoxyribonucleoprotein, and DNA electrophoresis of proteinized and deproteinized chromatin oligomers, respectively, indicated that ATP effectively inhibits staphylococcal nuclease. Low ionic strength nucleoprotein electrophoresis to resolve staphylococcal nuclease-digested chromatin indicates that as little as 10−4 M EDTA can promote structural unfolding resulting in changes in apparent mobilities for chromatin oligomers 250 and 600 by in length. Comparative digestion of chromatin with staphlococcal nuclease followed by reaction termination by ATP or EDTA showed that this observation was not merely the result of degradation due to inefficiency of ATP enzyme inhibition.

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Correspondence to Nancy Lynn Rosenberg.

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Rosenberg, N.L. ATP as an alternative inhibitor of bacterial and endogenous nucleases and its effect on native chromatin compaction. Mol Cell Biochem 76, 113–121 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00223476

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Key words

  • ATP
  • nucleoprotein compaction
  • nuclease inhibition