Heterochromatin, HP1 and methylation at lysine 9 of histone H3 in animals

Ian G Cowell, Rebecca Aucott, Shantha K Mahadevaiah, Paul S Burgoyne, Neville Huskisson, Silvia Bongiorni, Giorgio Prantera, Laura Fanti, Sergio Pimpinelli, Rong Wu, David M Gilbert, Wei Shi, Reinald Fundele, Harris Morrison, Peter Jeppesen, Prim B Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

220 Citations (Scopus)


We show that methylated lysine 9 of histone H3 (Me9H3) is a marker of heterochromatin in divergent animal species. It localises to both constitutive and facultative heterochromatin and replicates late in S-phase of the cell cycle. Significantly, Me9H3 is enriched in the inactive mammalian X chromosome (Xi) in female cells, as well as in the XY body during meiosis in the male, and forms a G-band pattern along the arms of the autosomes. Me9H3 is a constituent of imprinted chromosomes that are repressed. The paternal and maternal pronuclei in one-cell mouse embryos show a striking non-equivalence in Me9H3: the paternal pronucleus contains no immunocytologically detectable Me9H3. The levels of Me9H3 on the parental chromosomes only become equivalent after the two-cell stage. Finally, we provide evidence that Me9H3 is neither necessary nor sufficient for localisation of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) to chromosomal DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-36
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2002


  • Animals
  • Bisbenzimidazole
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA
  • Drosophila
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genomic Imprinting
  • Heterochromatin
  • Histones
  • Lysine
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Oocytes
  • Spermatozoa
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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    Cowell, I. G., Aucott, R., Mahadevaiah, S. K., Burgoyne, P. S., Huskisson, N., Bongiorni, S., Prantera, G., Fanti, L., Pimpinelli, S., Wu, R., Gilbert, D. M., Shi, W., Fundele, R., Morrison, H., Jeppesen, P., & Singh, P. B. (2002). Heterochromatin, HP1 and methylation at lysine 9 of histone H3 in animals. Chromosoma, 111(1), 22-36.