Methylation of Histones in Sea Urchin Embryo Chromatin

  • G. Geraci
  • F. Aniello
  • M. Branno
  • L. Tosi
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (NATO ASI F, volume 231)


It is now commonplace to state that control of gene activity is dependent upon multiple levels of chromatin organization. Except for scaffolding proteins, that are believed to contribute to the first level of chromosomal DNA packaging, and probably to the definition of chromatin DNA domains, the chromosomal organization is essentially dependent on the nucleosomes formed by the interaction of histones and DNA. The histones participating in this fundamental unit have been shown to undergo chemical modifications at the nucleosome level. Histone phosphorylation appears related to cyclic alterations of the chromosome packaging observed at different periods of the cell cycle, while histone acetylation appears correlated with the structural organization of transcriptionally active chromatin. These post-tran-slational chemical modifications are clearly reversible by means of specific enzymatic activities. Methylation has also been shown to be an enzymatic modification of nucleosomal histones, but no correlation with particular states or functions of the chromatin has been demonstrated. Tanguay and Desrosiers (see elsewhere in this book), present evidence that histone methylation is correlated with modulation of some gene expression in Drosophila following heat shock or stress.


Histone Methylation Soluble Enzyme Total Histone Nucleosomal Histone Nucleosome Level 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Geraci
    • 2
  • F. Aniello
    • 1
  • M. Branno
    • 1
  • L. Tosi
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of BiochemistryZoological StationNaplesItaly
  2. 2.Department of Genetics, General and Molecular BiologyUniversity of NaplesNaplesItaly

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