Chromosome Research

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 891-898

First online:

The chromosomal distribution of histone methylation marks in gymnosperms differs from that of angiosperms

  • Jörg FuchsAffiliated withLeibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research Email author 
  • , Gabriele JovtchevAffiliated withLeibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research
  • , Ingo SchubertAffiliated withLeibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research

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The chromosomal distribution of seven histone methylation marks (H3K4me2, H3K9me1,2,3 and H3K27me1,2,3) was analysed in the gymnosperm species Pinus sylvestris and Picea abies. Similarly to the situation in other investigated eukaryotes, dimethylation of lysine 4 of histone H3 is restricted to euchromatin in gymnosperms. Surprisingly, also H3K9me1—a mark classified as heterochromatin-specific in angiosperms—labels the euchromatin in P. sylvestris and P. abies. The other investigated methylation marks are either equally distributed along the chromosomes, as H3K9me2 and H3K27me1 (in both species) and H3K9me3 (in P. abies), or enriched at specific types of heterochromatin, as H3K9me3 (in P. sylvestris) and H3K27me2 and H3K27me3 in both species. Although the methylation marks themselves are apparently conserved, their functional specificity within the frame of the ‘epigenetic code’ might have diverged during evolution.

Key words

euchromatin genome size estimation heterochromatin histone methylation Pinaceae