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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 May;39(9):3594-606. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1342. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Epigenetic profile of the euchromatic region of human Y chromosome.

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  • 1Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Uppal Road, Hyderabad 500007, India.


The genome of a multi-cellular organism acquires various functional capabilities in different cell types by means of distinct chromatin modifications and packaging states. Acquired during early development, the cell type-specific epigenotype is maintained by cellular memory mechanisms that involve epigenetic modifications. Here we present the epigenetic status of the euchromatic region of the human Y chromosome that has mostly been ignored in earlier whole genome epigenetic mapping studies. Using ChIP-on-chip approach, we mapped H3K9ac, H3K9me3, H3K27me3 modifications and CTCF binding sites while DNA methylation analysis of selected CpG islands was done using bisulfite sequencing. The global pattern of histone modifications observed on the Y chromosome reflects the functional state and evolutionary history of the sequences that constitute it. The combination of histone and DNA modifications, along with CTCF association in some cases, reveals the transcriptional potential of all protein coding genes including the sex-determining gene SRY and the oncogene TSPY. We also observe preferential association of histone marks with different tandem repeats, suggesting their importance in genome organization and gene regulation. Our results present the first large scale epigenetic analysis of the human Y chromosome and link a number of cis-elements to epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, enabling an understanding of such mechanisms in Y chromosome linked disorders.

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