H3K23me2 is a new heterochromatic mark in Caenorhabditis elegans

Julien Vandamme, Simone Sidoli, Luca Mariani, Carsten Friis, Jesper Christensen, Kristian Helin, Ole N Jensen, Anna Elisabetta Salcini

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Genome-wide analyses in Caenorhabditis elegans show that post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones are evolutionary conserved and distributed along functionally distinct genomic domains. However, a global profile of PTMs and their co-occurrence on the same histone tail has not been described in this organism. We used mass spectrometry based middle-down proteomics to analyze histone H3 N-terminal tails from C. elegans embryos for the presence, the relative abundance and the potential cross-talk of co-existing PTMs. This analysis highlighted that the lysine 23 of histone H3 (H3K23) is extensively modified by methylation and that tri-methylated H3K9 (H3K9me3) is exclusively detected on histone tails with di-methylated H3K23 (H3K23me2). Chromatin immunoprecipitation approaches revealed a positive correlation between H3K23me2 and repressive marks. By immunofluorescence analyses, H3K23me2 appears differentially regulated in germ and somatic cells, in part by the action of the histone demethylase JMJD-1.2. H3K23me2 is enriched in heterochromatic regions, localizing in H3K9me3 and heterochromatin protein like-1 (HPL-1)-positive foci. Biochemical analyses indicated that HPL-1 binds to H3K23me2 and interacts with a conserved CoREST repressive complex. Thus, our study suggests that H3K23me2 defines repressive domains and contributes to organizing the genome in distinct heterochromatic regions during embryogenesis.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number20
Pages (from-to)9694-9710
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

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