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Maintenance of cell fates through acetylated histone and the histone variant H2A.z in C. elegans.

Authors
  • Shibata, Yukimasa
  • Nishiwaki, Kiyoji
Type
Published Article
Journal
Worm
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Volume
3
Identifiers
DOI: 10.4161/worm.29048
PMID: 25254151
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Maintenance of cell fates is essential for the development and homeostasis of multicellular organisms and involves the preservation of the expression status of selector genes that control many target genes. Epigenetic marks have pivotal roles in the maintenance of gene expression status, as occurs with methylation on lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me) for Hox gene regulation. In contrast, because the levels of histone acetylation decrease during the mitotic phase, acetylated histone has not been believed to contribute to the maintenance of cell fates. Because members of the bromodomain and extra terminal (BET) family bind to acetylated histones localized on mitotic chromosomes, it is possible that they may regulate the transcriptional status of genes throughout the cell cycle. In this commentary, we discuss the recent analyses of C. elegans BET family protein BET-1, which contributes to the maintenance of cell fates through the histone H2A variant HTZ-1/H2A.z. This mechanism represses transcription of selector genes in the genomic region where lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27) is demethylated by histone demethylase UTX-1. We discuss the possibility that BET-1 and HTZ-1 maintain the poised state of RNA polymerase II in the cell such that it is ready to respond to differentiation signals.

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