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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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A hyperdynamic H3.3 nucleosome marks promoter regions in pluripotent embryonic stem cells


Schlesinger, S. ; Kaffe, B. ; Melcer, S. ; Aguilera, J. D. ; Sivaraman, D. M. ; Kaplan, T. ; Meshorer, E. A hyperdynamic H3.3 nucleosome marks promoter regions in pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Nucleic Acids Research 2017, 45, 12181-12194.

Date Published:



Histone variants and their chaperones are key regulators of eukaryotic transcription, and are critical for normal development. The histone variant H3.3 has been shown to play important roles in pluripotency and differentiation, and although its genome-wide patterns have been investigated, little is known about the role of its dynamic turnover in transcriptional regulation. To elucidate the role of H3.3 dynamics in embryonic stem cell (ESC) biology, we generated mouse ESC lines carrying a single copy of a doxycycline (Dox)-inducible HA-tagged version of H3.3 and monitored the rate of H3.3 incorporation by ChIP-seq at varying time points following Dox induction, before and after RA-induced differentiation. Comparing H3.3 turnover profiles in ESCs and RA-treated cells, we identified a hyperdynamic H3.3-containing nucleosome at the −1 position in promoters of genes expressed in ESCs. This dynamic nucleosome is restricted and shifted downstream into the +1 position following differentiation. We suggest that histone turnover dynamics provides an additional mechanism involved in expression regulation, and that a hyperdynamic −1 nucleosome marks promoters in ESCs. Our data provide evidence for regional regulation of H3.3 turnover in ESC promoters, and calls for testing, in high resolution, the dynamic behavior of additional histone variants and other structural chromatin proteins.