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Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;30(23):5473-83. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00518-10. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Genome-wide distribution of macroH2A1 histone variants in mouse liver chromatin.

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Department of Animal Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA.


Studies of macroH2A histone variants indicate that they have a role in regulating gene expression. To identify direct targets of the macroH2A1 variants, we produced a genome-wide map of the distribution of macroH2A1 nucleosomes in mouse liver chromatin using high-throughput DNA sequencing. Although macroH2A1 nucleosomes are widely distributed across the genome, their local concentration varies over a range of 100-fold or more. The transcribed regions of most active genes are depleted of macroH2A1, often in sharply localized domains that show depletion of 4-fold or more relative to bulk mouse liver chromatin. We used macroH2A1 enrichment to help identify genes that appear to be directly regulated by macroH2A1 in mouse liver. These genes functionally cluster in the area of lipid metabolism. All but one of these genes has increased expression in macroH2A1 knockout mice, indicating that macroH2A1 functions primarily as a repressor in adult liver. This repressor activity is further supported by the substantial and relatively uniform macroH2A1 enrichment along the inactive X chromosome, which averages 4-fold. Genes that escape X inactivation stand out as domains of macroH2A1 depletion. The rarity of such genes indicates that few genes escape X inactivation in mouse liver, in contrast to what has been observed in human cells.

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