Pluto Bioinformatics

GSE69771: Histone H3.3 maintains genome integrity during mammalian development

Bulk RNA sequencing

Histone H3.3 is a highly conserved histone H3 replacement variant in metazoans, and has been implicated in many important biological processes including cell differentiation and reprogramming. Germline and somatic mutations in H3.3 genomic incorporation pathway components, or in H3.3 encoding genes, have been associated with human congenital diseases and cancers, respectively. However, the role of H3.3 in mammalian development remains unclear. To address this question, we generated H3.3 null mouse models through classical genetic approaches. We found H3.3 plays an essential role in mouse development. Complete depletion of H3.3 leads to developmental retardation and early embryonic lethality. At the cellular level, H3.3 loss triggers cell cycle suppression and cell death. Surprisingly, H3.3 depletion does not dramatically disrupt gene regulation in the developing embryo. Instead, H3.3 depletion causes dysfunction of heterochromatin structures at telomeres, centromeres and pericentromeric regions of chromosomes leading to mitotic defects. The resulting karyotypical abnormalities and DNA damage lead to p53 pathway activation. In summary, our results reveal that an important function of H3.3 is to support chromosomal heterochromatic structures, thus maintaining genome integrity during mammalian development. SOURCE: Joshua StarmerMagnuson University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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