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Histone H2A (H2A.X and H2A.Z) variants in molluscs: molecular characterization and potential implications for chromatin dynamics.


ABSTRACT: Histone variants are used by the cell to build specialized nucleosomes, replacing canonical histones and generating functionally specialized chromatin domains. Among many other processes, the specialization imparted by histone H2A (H2A.X and H2A.Z) variants to the nucleosome core particle constitutes the earliest response to DNA damage in the cell. Consequently, chromatin-based genotoxicity tests have been developed in those cases where enough information pertaining chromatin structure and dynamics is available (i.e., human and mouse). However, detailed chromatin knowledge is almost absent in most organisms, specially protostome animals. Molluscs (which represent sentinel organisms for the study of pollution) are not an exception to this lack of knowledge. In the present work we first identified the existence of functionally differentiated histone H2A.X and H2A.Z variants in the mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis (MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z), a marine organism widely used in biomonitoring programs. Our results support the functional specialization of these variants based on: a) their active expression in different tissues, as revealed by the isolation of native MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z proteins in gonad and hepatopancreas; b) the evolutionary conservation of different residues encompassing functional relevance; and c) their ability to confer specialization to nucleosomes, as revealed by nucleosome reconstitution experiments using recombinant MgH2A.X and MgH2A.Z histones. Given the seminal role of these variants in maintaining genomic integrity and regulating gene expression, their preliminary characterization opens up new potential applications for the future development of chromatin-based genotoxicity tests in pollution biomonitoring programs.

SUBMITTER: Gonzalez-Romero R 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3256202 | BioStudies | 2012-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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