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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Jul 1;26(13):3255-62.

Multilevel regulation of histone gene expression during the cell cycle in tobacco cells.

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  • 1Institut de Biologie Moléculaire des Plantes du CNRS, 12 rue du Général Zimmer, 67084 Strasbourg cedex, France.


The respective involvement of transcriptional and post-transcriptional mechanisms in coupling H3 and H4 histone gene expression to the S phase of the cell cycle has been studied in synchronized tobacco cells. Induction of histone gene expression at the G1/S transition is shown to be essentially directed by an increase in the transcription rate in response to cellular signals occurring at the initiation step of DNA replication. Histone gene induction thus precedes the burst of DNA synthesis. However, when the elongation step of DNA replication is ineffective or artificially arrested, feedback mechanisms apparently act at the translation level to avoid overproduction of histone proteins from their mRNAs. At the end of S phase, post-transcriptional mechanisms ensure a rapid degradation of histone mRNAs. Transcription factors are bound to the cis -elements of histone promoters throughout the cell cycle, thus suggesting a post-translational modification of some of them to trigger promoter activation at the G1/S transition. Based on these results, a model is proposed for histone gene transcriptional induction in connection with the components of the cell cycle machinery.

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