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J Biol Chem. 2011 Nov 11;286(45):39457-65. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.243006. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Patterns of histone H3 lysine 27 monomethylation and erythroid cell type-specific gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA.


Post-translational histone modifications, acting alone or in a context-dependent manner, influence numerous cellular processes via their regulation of gene expression. Monomethylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (K27me1) is a poorly understood histone modification. Some reports describe depletion of K27Me1 at promoters and transcription start sites (TSS), implying its depletion at TSS is necessary for active transcription, while others have associated enrichment of H3K27me1 at TSS with increased levels of mRNA expression. Tissue- and gene-specific patterns of H3K27me1 enrichment and their correlation with gene expression were determined via chromatin immunoprecipitation on chip microarray (ChIP-chip) and human mRNA expression array analyses. Results from erythroid cells were compared with those in neural and muscle cells. H3K27me1 enrichment varied depending on levels of cell-type specific gene expression, with highest enrichment over transcriptionally active genes. Over individual genes, the highest levels of H3K27me1 enrichment were found over the gene bodies of highly expressed genes. In contrast to H3K4me3, which was highly enriched at the TSS of actively transcribing genes, H3K27me1 was selectively depleted at the TSS of actively transcribed genes. There was markedly decreased to no H3K27me1 enrichment in genes with low expression. At some locations, H3K27 monomethylation was also found to be associated with chromatin signatures of gene enhancers.

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