Identification of novel H2A histone variants across diverse clades of algae

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Identification of novel H2A histone variants across diverse clades of algae


Rousselot, E.; Nehr, Z.; Aury, J.-M.; Denoeud, F.; Cock, M.; Tirichine, L.; Duc, C.


Histones are recognized as one of the most conserved proteins across eukaryotes. They not only ensure DNA compaction in the nucleus but also participate in epigenetic regulation of genome expression. These key epigenetic players are divided into canonical histones, expressed during the S-phase, and variants, expressed throughout the cell cycle. Compared with other core histones, H2A proteins exhibit a high level of variability but the characterization of algal H2A variants remains very limited. In this study, we exploited genome data from 21 species to perform a phylogenetic analysis of brown seaweeds. We identified new H2A variants that are specific to the Phaeophyceae and closely-related sister group species. For each identified H2A protein, we characterized motifs present in the histone fold domain as well as in the N- and C-terminal tails. This approach enabled us to classify the different isoforms and to identify three new variants (H2A.N, H2A.O and H2A.E). Based on mass spectrometry and RNA-Seq data, we identified distinct epigenetics marks and specific expression patterns of the H2A variants in both vegetative and reproductive tissues as well as in response to various environmental conditions. These analyses identified sperm-specific variants and inferred putative roles for the newly discovered variants.

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