Histone variant macroH2A1 deletion in mice causes female-specific steatosis.

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Vertebrate heterochromatin contains a non-allelic variant of the histone H2A called macroH2A1, which has the characteristic of being three times the size of the canonical H2A. The macroH2A1 C-terminal extension can recruit onto chromatin the poly-ADP-ribose polymerase (PARP)1, which is crucial for DNA repair. This led to the speculation that macroH2A1 could be essential for genome surveillance; however, no experimental evidence supported this hypothesis. Because macroH2A1 has been found to be enriched on the inactive X-chromosome in females, it is thought to play a role in sex chromosome dosage compensation through its ability to regulate gene expression. However, more genetic data are needed to further understand the function of macroH2A1 in mammals. RESULTS: Deletion of the murine gene H2afy, which encodes for macroH2A1, resulted in lipid accumulation in liver. Hepatic steatosis caused by H2afy disruption occurred specifically in homozygous mutant females. The metabolic disorder constantly affected half of the number of homozygote females. Given the mixed genetic background of the mutants, an unreported genetic modifier is likely to influence the penetrance of the phenotype. In addition, the X-linked thyroxine-binding globulin (Tbg) gene was specifically upregulated in steatotic livers. Chromatin immunoprecitation indicated that macroH2A1 is enriched at the Tbg promoter in wild-type female animals, indicating that increased Tbg expression in H2afy null mutants is likely to be a direct consequence of the absence of macroH2A1. Furthermore, male mice, which are not prone to the metabolic disorder, had a reduced level of macroH2A1 incorporated into the Tbg promoter. CONCLUSIONS: Because TBG is the main carrier of the thyroid hormone T4, which regulates energy metabolism, we propose that overexpression of TBG is responsible for the fat accumulation observed in H2afy-deficient liver. Moreover, our results suggest that the sexual dimorphism of the steatotic phenotype is probably due to the different incorporation of macroH2A1 in males and females. In combination with previous studies, our data demonstrate a role for macroH2A1 in regulating homeostasis in a sex-dependent manner, subject to genetic background.
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Epigenetics & Chromatin, BioMed Central, 2010, 3 (1), pp.8. 〈10.1186/1756-8935-3-8〉
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Mathieu Boulard, Sébastien Storck, Rong Cong, Rodrigo Pinto, Hélène Delage, et al.. Histone variant macroH2A1 deletion in mice causes female-specific steatosis.. Epigenetics & Chromatin, BioMed Central, 2010, 3 (1), pp.8. 〈10.1186/1756-8935-3-8〉. 〈inserm-00629635〉

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