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Distinct methylation patterns in histone H3 at Lys-4 and Lys-9 correlate with up- & down-regulation of genes by ethanol in hepatocytes.

ABSTRACT: Ethanol induced liver injury is associated with a global change in gene expression but its mechanisms are not known. We studied whether alcohol-induced gene expression is associated with post-translational methylations of histone H3. Primary culture of rat hepatocytes was treated with ethanol (50 or 100 mM) for 24 h and the status of methylation of H3 at lys 4 (H3dimeK4) or lys 9 (H3dimeK9) was monitored by Western blotting using antibodies to dimethylated histone H3 at lys 4 or lys 9. The cells exposed to ethanol showed strikingly opposing behaviors in methylation patterns; H3dimeK9 methylation was decreased whereas H3dimeK4 increased. Similar results were obtained in the interphase nuclei. Their binding on the metaphase chromosomes exhibits distinct site specific pattern of accumulation. Next, chromatin immunoprecipitation of the ethanol treated samples with antibodies for methylated lys 4 or lys 9 histone H3 followed by amplification of the immunoprecipitated DNA, was used to determine their association with the promoters of genes up- or downregulated by ethanol. Lys4 methylation was associated with ethanol upregulated genes (Adh, GST-yc2) whereas lys 9 methylation with downregulated genes (Lsdh, cytP4502c11) demonstrating a difference between these two methylations. These results suggest that exposure of hepatocytes to ethanol changes the expression of several susceptible genes which are associated with site specific modification of dimethylated forms of histone H3 amino termini at their regulatory regions.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC2706023 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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