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Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Jun;30(11):2693-707. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01537-09. Epub 2010 Mar 29.

Allele-specific H3K79 Di- versus trimethylation distinguishes opposite parental alleles at imprinted regions.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Molecular Medicine, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, CA 91010, USA.


Imprinted gene expression corresponds to parental allele-specific DNA CpG methylation and chromatin composition. Histone tail covalent modifications have been extensively studied, but it is not known whether modifications in the histone globular domains can also discriminate between the parental alleles. Using multiplex chromatin immunoprecipitation-single nucleotide primer extension (ChIP-SNuPE) assays, we measured the allele-specific enrichment of H3K79 methylation and H4K91 acetylation along the H19/Igf2 imprinted domain. Whereas H3K79me1, H3K79me2, and H4K91ac displayed a paternal-specific enrichment at the paternally expressed Igf2 locus, H3K79me3 was paternally biased at the maternally expressed H19 locus, including the paternally methylated imprinting control region (ICR). We found that these allele-specific differences depended on CTCF binding in the maternal ICR allele. We analyzed an additional 11 differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and found that, in general, H3K79me3 was associated with the CpG-methylated alleles, whereas H3K79me1, H3K79me2, and H4K91ac enrichment was specific to the unmethylated alleles. Our data suggest that allele-specific differences in the globular histone domains may constitute a layer of the "histone code" at imprinted genes.

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