Histone exchange activity and its correlation with histone acetylation status in porcine oocytes

Laboratory of Applied Genetics, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life Science, University of Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan.
Reproduction (Impact Factor: 3.17). 03/2011; 141(4):397-405. DOI: 10.1530/REP-10-0164
Source: PubMed


In mammalian oocytes, histone H3 and histone H4 (H4) in the chromatin are highly acetylated at the germinal vesicle (GV) stage, and become globally deacetylated after GV breakdown (GVBD). Although nuclear core histones can be exchanged by cytoplasmic free histones in somatic cells, it remains unknown whether this is also the case in mammalian oocytes. In this study, we examined the histone exchange activity in maturing porcine oocytes before and after GVBD, and investigated the correlations between this activity and both the acetylation profile of the H4 N-terminal tail and the global histone acetylation level in the chromatin. We injected Flag-tagged H4 (H4-Flag) mRNA into GV oocytes, and found that the Flag signal was localized to the chromatin. We next injected mRNAs of mutated H4-Flag, which lack all acetylation sites and the whole N-terminal tail, and found that the H4 N-terminal tail and its modification were not necessary for histone incorporation into chromatin. Despite the lack of acetylation sites, the mutated H4-Flag mRNA injection did not decrease the acetylation level on the chromatin, indicating that the histone exchange occurs partially in the GV chromatin. In contrast to GV oocytes, the Flag signal was not detected on the chromatin after the injection of H4-Flag protein into the second meiotic metaphase oocytes. These results suggest that histone exchange activity changes during meiotic maturation in porcine oocytes, and that the acetylation profile of the H4 N-terminal tail has no effect on histone incorporation into chromatin and does not affect the global level of histone acetylation in it.

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