• Research

Histone variants: essential actors in male genome programming - J Biochem. 2018 Feb 1;163(2):97-103

Naghmeh Hoghoughi, Sophie Barral, Alexandra Vargas, Sophie Rousseaux, Saadi Khochbin
doi: 10.1093/jb/mvx079.


Prior to its transmission to the offspring, the male genome has to be tightly compacted. A genome-scale histone eviction and the subsequent repackaging of DNA by protamines (Prms) direct this essential genome condensation step. The requirement for male germ cells to undergo such a dramatic and unique genome reorganization explains why these cells express the largest number of histone variants, including many testis-specific ones. Indeed, an open chromatin, nucleosome instability and a facilitated process of histone disassembly are direct consequences of the presence of these histone variants in the chromatin of male germ cells. These histone-induced changes in chromatin first control a stage-specific gene expression program and then directly mediate the histone-to-Prm transition process. This review aims at summarizing and discussing a series of recent functional studies of male germ cell histone variants with a focus on their impact on the process of histone eviction and male genome compaction.

Published on August 22, 2018