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Biochem Cell Biol. 1991 Jan;69(1):66-71.

Timing of the appearance of ubiquitinated histones in developing new macronuclei of Tetrahymena thermophila.

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1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada.

Abstract

Vegetative cells of the ciliated protozoan Tetrahymena thermophila contain a transcriptionally active macronucleus and a transcriptionally inert micronucleus. During vegetative growth, macronuclear histones H2A and H2B and micronuclear H2A are ubiquitinated. Despite differences in function, macro- and micro-nuclei are related. During conjugation (the sexual phase of the life cycle in Tetrahymena), postzygotic division products of micronuclei give rise to new micro- and macro-nuclei. Using an anti-ubiquitin antibody in Western blotting experiments, we determined the levels of ubiquitinated histones in new macro- and micro-nuclei at various times during conjugation. Very soon after the second postzygotic division (approximately 8 h) when new macronuclei begin to synthesize RNA, ubiquitinated H2B and polyubiquitinated H2A are present. At this time micronuclei have only low levels of ubiquitinated H2A. During later stages of conjugation (15 h), the level of polyubiquitinated H2A decreases, while ubiquitinated H2B increases in developing new macronuclei, attaining levels of ubiquitinated H2B approaching that of parental macronuclei. Ubiquitinated histones are not detectable in the 15-h micronuclei. These results show that ubiquitination of H2B coincides with the transformation of an inert germinal nucleus into that of a transcriptionally active somatic nucleus, suggesting that ubiquitinated H2B has a role in maintaining the transcriptionally active chromatin state.

PMID:
1645982
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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