TH2BS11ph histone mark is enriched in the unsynapsed axes of the XY body and predominantly associates with H3K4me3-containing genomic regions in mammalian spermatocytes

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BACKGROUND: TH2B is a major histone variant that replaces about 80-85% of somatic H2B in mammalian spermatocytes and spermatids. The post-translational modifications (PTMs) on TH2B have been well characterised in spermatocytes and spermatids. However, the biological function(s) of these PTMs on TH2B have not been deciphered in great detail. In our attempt to decipher the unique function(s) of histone variant TH2B, we detected the modification in the N-terminal tail, Serine 11 phosphorylation on TH2B (TH2BS11ph) in spermatocytes.

RESULTS: The current study is aimed at understanding the function of the TH2BS11ph modification in the context of processes that occur during meiotic prophase I. Immunofluorescence studies with the highly specific antibodies revealed that TH2BS11ph histone mark is enriched in the unsynapsed axes of the sex body and is associated with XY body-associated proteins like Scp3, γH2AX, pATM, ATR, etc. Genome-wide occupancy studies as determined by ChIP sequencing experiments in P20 C57BL6 mouse testicular cells revealed that TH2BS11ph is enriched in X and Y chromosomes confirming the immunofluorescence staining pattern in the pachytene spermatocytes. Apart from the localisation of this modification in the XY body, TH2BS11ph is majorly associated with H3K4me3-containing genomic regions like gene promoters, etc. These data were also found to corroborate with the ChIP sequencing data of TH2BS11ph histone mark carried out in P12 C57BL6 mouse testicular cells, wherein we found the predominant localisation of this modification at H3K4me3-containing genomic regions. Mass spectrometry analysis of proteins that associate with TH2BS11ph-containing mononucleosomes revealed key proteins linked with the functions of XY body, pericentric heterochromatin and transcription.

CONCLUSIONS: TH2BS11ph modification is densely localised in the unsynapsed axes of the XY body of the pachytene spermatocyte. By ChIP sequencing studies in mouse P12 and P20 testicular cells, we demonstrate that TH2BS11ph is predominantly associated with H3K4me3 positive genomic regions like gene promoters, etc. We propose that TH2BS11ph modification could act alone or in concert with other histone modifications to recruit the appropriate transcription or XY body recombination protein machinery at specific genomic loci.

Original languageEnglish
Article number53
JournalEpigenetics & Chromatin
Issue number1
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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