Facilitates chromatin transcription (FACT) is a histone chaperone, which accomplishes both nucleosome assembly and disassembly. Our combined cryo-electron microscopy (EM) and native mass spectrometry (MS) studies revealed novel key steps of nucleosome reorganization conducted by a Mid domain and its adjacent acidic AID segment of human FACT. We determined three cryo-EM structures of respective octasomes complexed with the Mid-AID and AID regions, and a hexasome alone. We discovered extensive contacts between a FACT region and histones H2A, H2B, and H3, suggesting that FACT is competent to direct functional replacement of a nucleosomal DNA end by its phosphorylated AID segment (pAID). Mutational assays revealed that the aromatic and phosphorylated residues within pAID are essential for octasome binding. The EM structure of the hexasome, generated by the addition of Mid-pAID or pAID, indicated that the dissociation of H2A-H2B dimer causes significant alteration from the canonical path of the nucleosomal DNA.
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