Send to

Choose Destination
Neurobiol Dis. 2013 Jun;54:404-13. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2013.01.014. Epub 2013 Jan 29.

Histone modification mapping in human brain reveals aberrant expression of histone H3 lysine 79 dimethylation in neural tube defects.

Author information

Beijing Municipal Key Laboratory of Child Development and Nutriomics, Capital Institute of Pediatrics, Beijing 100020, China.


Neural tube defects (NTDs) are severe, common birth defects that result from failure of neural tube closure, but their pathological mechanisms are not yet fully understood. Histone modifications have an important role in gene regulation during fetal development. We therefore hypothesized that the human NTDs may be partly caused by an imbalance in metabolism, perhaps caused by nutritional deficiencies, that leads to aberrant histone modifications. Here, we report a screen of fetal brain histone modifications using 2D nano-LC strong cation exchange reverse phase (SCX/RP) MS/MS and the identification of 61 unique post-translational modification sites on histones H1, H2a, H2b, H3, and H4. Of these, 38 sites are novel (not already found in the Uniprot database). Furthermore, we compared the histone modification patterns between normal brains and NTD brains special of which maternal folate levels were lower than of normal control. The results showed that histone H3 lysine 79 dimethylation (H3K79me2) and a novel identified site, H2bK5 monomethylation (H2bK5me1), were completely absent in individuals with NTDs. Follow-up Western blotting validated the decreased H3K79me2 expression in brains with NTDs, but the amplified samples experiments displayed that decreased H3K79me2 expression was not suitable for all samples with NTDs. Furthermore, folate-free treated mouse embryonic stem cells induced the decreased H3K79me2 level. Subsequently, our ChIP results in normal fetal brain tissues showed that H3K79me2 binds to SUFU, RARA and ITGA3 which induce NTDs phenotype after knockout in mice, and in NTDs brain tissues the bindings of H3K79me2 to these three genes were significantly altered. Taken together, our study indicated that low folate treatment might attenuate H3K79 dimethylation, further affect its regulate activation on target genes, some of which are NTDs-resulting associated, lastly interrupt early embryo developing. Our study increases the understanding of normal fetal brain histone modifications and provides a platform for investigating histone modifications in neural disease and also has an insight into a potential role of aberrant histone modification in etiology of NTDs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center