BioScience Trends. 2023;17(5):393-400. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2023.01214)

Genome-wide identification of mammalian cell-cycle invariant and mitotic-specific macroH2A1 domains

Zhang L, Ye BS, Xu ZQ, Li XH, Czajkwosky DM, Shao ZF


The histone variant macroH2A has been found to play important regulatory roles in genomic processes, especially in regulating transcriptomes. However, whether macroH2A nucleosomes are retained on mitotic chromosomes to enable maintenance of cell-specific transcriptomes is not known. Here, examining mouse embryonic fibroblast cells (NIH-3T3) with native chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (nChIP-seq), we show that the overwhelming majority (~90%) of macroH2A1 domains identified at the G1/S stage are indeed stably retained on mitotic chromosomes. Unexpectedly though, we also find that there are a number of macroH2A domains that are specific for either mitotic or G1/S cells. Notably, more than 7,000 interphase expressed genes flanked by macroH2A1 domains are loaded with macroH2A1 nucleosomes on the mitotic chromosome to form extended domains. Overall, these results reveal that, while the majority of macroH2A1 domains are indeed faithfully transmitted through the mitotic chromosomes, there is a previously unknown cell-cycle dependent exchange of macroH2A1 nucleosomes at numerous genomic loci, indicating the existence of molecular machineries for this dynamically regulated process. We anticipate that these findings will prove to be essential for the integrity of mitotic progression and the maintenance of cellular identity.

KEYWORDS: Histone variant macroH2A1, cell cycle, mitotic chromosomes, nChIP-seq

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