Histone crotonylation specifically marks the haploid male germ cell gene expression program

Post-meiotic male-specific gene expression

Authors

  • Emilie Montellier,

    1. INSERM, U823; Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1; Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine, Domaine de la Merci, La Tronche Cedex, France
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  • Sophie Rousseaux,

    1. INSERM, U823; Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1; Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine, Domaine de la Merci, La Tronche Cedex, France
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  • Yingming Zhao,

    1. Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, P. R. China
    2. Ben May Department of Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
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  • Saadi Khochbin

    Corresponding author
    1. INSERM, U823; Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1; Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine, Domaine de la Merci, La Tronche Cedex, France
    • INSERM, U823, Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1, Institut Albert Bonniot, Faculté de Médecine, Domaine de la Merci, La Tronche Cedex, France
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Abstract

The haploid male germ cell differentiation program controls essential steps of male gametogenesis and relies partly on a significant number of sex chromosome-linked genes. These genes need to escape chromosome-wide transcriptional repression of sex chromosomes, which occurs during meiosis and is largely maintained in post-meiotic cells. A newly discovered histone lysine modification, crotonylation (Kcr), marks X/Y-linked genes that are active in post-meiotic male germ cells. Histone Kcr, by conferring resistance to transcriptional repressors, could be a dominant element in maintaining these genes active in the globally repressive environment of haploid cell sex chromosomes. Furthermore, the same mark was found associated with post-meiotically activated genes on autosomes. Histone Kcr therefore appears to be an indicator of the male haploid cell gene expression program and a notable element of genome programming in the post-meiotic phases of spermatogenesis.

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