Linker histone subtypes are not generalized gene repressors

Alex Trollope, Nelly Sapojnikova, Alan Thorne, Colyn Crane-Robinson, Fiona Myers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antibodies to the six chicken histone H1 subtypes and the variant histone H5 have been used in immunoprecipitations of crosslinked chromatin fragments (xChIPs) to map linker histones across the β-globin locus and the widely expressed glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and carbonic anhydrase (CA) genes in three cell types: 15-day embryo chicken erythrocytes, 15-day embryo chicken brain and the early erythroid cell line HD24. In erythrocytes, where the β-adult and β-hatching genes are active, the H1.01, H1.11L and H1.11R subtypes are substantially depleted throughout the β-globin locus and the neighboring heterochromatin, in contrast to the other four subtypes, in particular the more abundant H5. Active genes therefore carry high levels of some but not all linker histone subtypes. The situation is similar in HD24 cells, except that substantial depletions are found at the promoters of the adult βA and embryonic βρ and βε genes, despite these genes not yet being active in HD24 cells. The distributions in the brain tissue are characterised by the absence of H1.02, H1.03 and H5 from the hypersensitive site HS3 and from the β-adult 3′ enhancer for the H1.11L and H1.11R subtypes. The data show that although linker histone subtypes play distinct cell-type specific roles in gene regulation, their widespread distribution indicates they are not intrinsically inhibitory to basic chromatin transactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-652
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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