Because of the potential role of histone ubiquitination in altering chromatin structure, we characterized the levels of ubiquitination of specific histones in meiotic and postmeiotic germ cells in rat testes by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. The levels of the major ubiquitinated histone forms, mono- and poly-ubiquitinated H2A, were highest in the pachytene spermatocyte stage, declined thereafter through the round spermatid stage, and reached their lowest levels in elongating spermatids. Three additional ubiquitinated histone species, besides H2A, were detected using anti-ubiquitin antibodies specifically in the fraction enriched in elongating spermatids. Based on their electrophoretic mobilities, they corresponded to uH3, uTH3, and uH2B. Polyubiquitinated forms of these proteins were also observed. The identity of these proteins was confirmed by immunoblotting with anti-H3 antisera and by differential extraction of the proteins from the nucleus with increasing salt concentrations. This is the first report of ubiquitination of H3 in vivo. We speculate that its ubiquitination could loosen the nucleosome structure in preparation for histone removal, be a consequence of nucleosome relaxation or disruption caused by other means, or target H3 for degradation.