Higher concentrations of histone macroH2A in the Barr body are correlated with higher nucleosome density

Pierre Yves Perche, Claire Vourc'h, Lara Konecny, Catherine Souchier, Michel Robert-Nicoud, Stefan Dimitrov, Saadi Khochbin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

93 Citations (Scopus)


Histone macroH2A, which is a subtype of histone H2A, possesses a histone H2A-like portion fused to a relatively long non-histone portion. MacroH2A has been shown to associate preferentially with the inactive X chromosome [1]. To investigate the specificity of this association, the nuclear distribution of macroH2A was compared with that of regular core histones. In normal human female fibroblasts, all anti-histone antibodies that were tested (including anti-macroH2A antibody) preferentially labeled the inactive X chromosome. Moreover, when expressed as green fluorescent protein (GFP) fusions, both histone H2A and macroH2A were concentrated in the Barr body. These data clearly show the presence of a higher density of nucleosomes in the inactive X chromosome. Accordingly, the specificity of the macroH2A association with the inactive X chromosome should be reconsidered. While investigating the role of macroH2A, we found that the proximity of the non-histone region of macroH2A to a promoter could lead to a specific repression of transcription, suggesting that the incorporation of macroH2A into chromatin might help to establish the stable pattern of gene expression in differentiated cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1531-1534
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Perche, P. Y., Vourc'h, C., Konecny, L., Souchier, C., Robert-Nicoud, M., Dimitrov, S., & Khochbin, S. (2000). Higher concentrations of histone macroH2A in the Barr body are correlated with higher nucleosome density. Current Biology, 10(23), 1531-1534. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0960-9822(00)00832-0