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Biochem J. 1995 Feb 1;305 ( Pt 3):739-44.

Binding of histone H1e-c variants to CpG-rich DNA correlates with the inhibitory effect on enzymic DNA methylation.

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Department of Biochemical Sciences A. Rossi Fanelli, University of Rome La Sapienza, Italy.


Within the H1 histone family, only some fractions enriched in the H1e-c variants are effective in causing a marked inhibition, in vitro, of enzymic DNA methylation and, in gel retardation and Southwestern blot experiments, in binding double-stranded (ds) CpG-rich oligonucleotides. Both the 6-CpG ds-oligonucleotide and the DNA purified from chromatin fractions enriched in 'CpG islands' are good competitors for the binding of H1e-c to 6-meCpG ds-oligonucleotide. Because of their ability to bind any DNA sequence and to suppress the enzymic methylation in any sequence containing CpG dinucleotides, these particular H1 variants could play some role in maintaining linker DNA at low methylation levels and even in preserving the unmethylated state of the CpG-rich islands which characterize the promoter regions of housekeeping genes.

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