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Mol Cells. 2005 Dec 31;20(3):423-8.

Methylation changes of lysine 9 of histone H3 during preimplantation mouse development.

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  • 1Laboratory of Development and Differentiation, Korea Research Institute of Bioscience and Biotechnology, Daejeon 305-333, Korea.


Immediately after fertilization, a chromatin remodeling process in the oocyte cytoplasm extracts protamine molecules from the sperm-derived DNA and loads histones onto it. We examined how the histone H3-lysine 9 methylation system is established on the remodeled sperm chromatin in mice. We found that the paternal pronucleus was not stained for dimethylated H3-K9 (H3-m2K9) during pronucleus development, while the maternal genome stained intensively. Such H3-m2K9 asymmetry between the parental pronuclei was independent of HP1b localization and, much like DNA methylation, was preserved to the two-cell stage when the nucleus appeared to be compartmentalized for H3-m2K9. A conspicuous increase in H3-m2K9 level was observed at the four-cell stage, and then the level was maintained without a visible change up to the blastocyst stage. The behavior of H3-m2K9 was very similar, but not identical, to that of 5-methylcytosine during preimplantation development, suggesting that there is some connection between methylation of histone and of DNA in early mouse development.

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