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EMBO J. 2006 Jun 7;25(11):2420-31. Epub 2006 May 11.

Histone H2B mutations in inner region affect ubiquitination, centromere function, silencing and chromosome segregation.

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Department of Gene Mechanisms, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Honmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, Japan.


The reiterated nature of histone genes has hampered genetic approach to dissect the role of histones in chromatin dynamics. We here report isolation of three temperature-sensitive (ts) Schizosaccharomyces pombe strains, containing amino-acid substitutions in the sole histone H2B gene (htb1+). The mutation sites reside in the highly conserved, non-helical residues of H2B, which are implicated in DNA-protein or protein-protein interactions in the nucleosome. In the allele of htb1-72, the substitution (G52D) occurs at the DNA binding loop L1, causing disruption of the gene silencing in heterochromatic regions and lagging chromosomes in anaphase. In another allele htb1-223 (P102L) locating in the junction between alpha3 and alphaC, the mutant residue is in contact with H2A and other histones, leading to structural aberrations in the central centromere chromatin and unequal chromosome segregation in anaphase. The third allele htb1-442 (E34K) near alpha1 displayed little defect. Evidence is provided that monoubiquitinated H2B is greatly unstable in P102L mutant, possibly owing to proteasome-independent destruction or enhanced deubiquitination. Histone H2B thus plays an important role in centromere/kinetochore formation.

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