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Bioorg Med Chem. 2012 Mar 15;20(6):1887-92. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2012.01.018. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Development of live-cell imaging probes for monitoring histone modifications.

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Japan Science and Technology Agency, PRESTO, 4-1-8 Honcho Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.


The combination of histone posttranslational modifications occurring in nucleosomal histones determines the epigenetic code. Histone modifications such as acetylation are dynamically controlled in response to a variety of signals during the cell cycle and differentiation, but they are paradoxically maintained through cell division to impart tissue specific gene expression patterns to progeny. The dynamics of histone modifications in living cells are poorly understood, because of the lack of experimental tools to monitor them in a real-time fashion. Recently, FRET-based imaging probes for histone H4 acetylation have been developed, which enabled monitoring of changes in histone acetylation during the cell cycle and drug treatment. Further development of this type of fluorescent probes for other modifications will make it possible to visualize complicated epigenetic regulation in living cells.

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