Specific regulation of Xenopus chromosomal 5S rRNA gene transcription in vivo by histone H1

Philippe Bouvet, Stefan Dimitrov, Alan P. Wolffe

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The incorporation of histone H1 into chromatin during embryogenesis directs the specific repression of the Xenopus oocyte 5S rRNA genes. An increase in histone H1 content specifically restricts TFIIIA-activated transcription, and a decrease in histone H1 within chromatin facilitates the activation of the oocyte 5S rRNA genes by TFIIIA. Variation in the amount of histone H1 in chromatin does not significantly influence somatic 5S rRNA gene transcription. Thus, the regulated expression of histone H1 during Xenopus development has a specific and dominant role in mediating the differential expression of the oocyte and somatic 5S rRNA genes. This example demonstrates that histones can exert dominant repressive effects on the transcription of a gene in vivo in spite of an abundance of transcription factors for that gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1147-1159
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes



  • chromatin
  • histone H1
  • ribozyme
  • transcription
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

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