Chromatin dynamics are mediated by remodeling enzymes and play crucial roles in gene regulation, as established in a paradigmatic model, the yeast PHO5 promoter. However, effective nucleosome dynamics, i.e. trajectories of promoter nucleosome configurations, remain elusive. Here, we infer such dynamics from the integration of published single-molecule data that capture multi-nucleosome configurations for repressed to fully active PHO5 promoter states with other existing histone turnover and new chromatin accessibility data. We devised and systematically investigated a new class of "regulated on-off-slide" models simulating global and local nucleosome (dis)assembly and sliding. Only seven of 68145 models agreed well with all data. All seven models involve sliding and the known central role of the N-2 nucleosome, but regulate promoter state transitions by modulating just one assembly rather than disassembly process. This is consistent with but challenges common interpretations of previous observations at the PHO5 promoter and suggests chromatin opening by binding competitions. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
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