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Biochemistry. 1984 Sep 11;23(19):4436-43.

Regulation of nucleosomal core histone variant levels in differentiating murine erythroleukemia cells.


During hexamethylenebis(acetamide)-induced terminal differentiation of murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells in vitro, the histone variant proportions undergo changes similar to those observed in vivo in terminally differentiating cells of the young mouse. Thus, there is a rapid increase in the relative amounts of the variants H2A.1 and H2B.2 in parallel with the increase in the number of hemoglobin-producing cells and the sharp decrease in the growth rate. We show that the changes in variant proportions are not associated with slower growth per se but are most likely due to differential changes in the rates of variant synthesis as a result of commitment to terminal differentiation. In addition, we observed an inducer-specific increase in the rate of synthesis and the relative amount of the minor H2A variant 4, well before hemoglobin accumulation. We also present evidence that H2A and H2B histones are synthesized and incorporated into chromatin at a significant rate even when DNA synthesis is inhibited, suggesting turnover of these histones. H2A and H2B turnover can be detected directly even in exponentially growing cells. H2A.1 and H2B.2 have higher turnover rates than H2A.2 and H2B.1, respectively, in exponentially growing cells, a difference which is even more pronounced in induced cells. The magnitude of the differential turnover is not sufficient to account for the changes in the histone variant proportions in the short life of induced MEL cells but could explain the slow accumulation of H2A.2, H2B.1, and H3.3 in nondividing adult tissues of the mouse.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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