Chromatin condensation: does histone H1 dephosphorylation play a role?

Trends Biochem Sci. 1992 Mar;17(3):93-8. doi: 10.1016/0968-0004(92)90243-3.


In this article we describe three distinct biological systems where histone H1 phosphorylation is uncoupled from mitosis and highly condensed chromatin is enriched in dephosphorylated forms of H1: the amitotic macronucleus of Tetrahymena, terminally differentiated avian erythrocytes and sea urchin sperm. Each system offers informative contrasts to the idea that H1 hyperphosphorylation is causally related to mitotic chromosome condensation. Assuming that higher order chromatin folding is primarily driven by electrostatic interactions between H1 and DNA, an alternative model is presented for the role of H1 phosphorylation in chromatin condensation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / physiology
  • Chromatin / physiology*
  • Erythrocytes / physiology
  • Fertilization / physiology
  • Histones / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mitosis / physiology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Sea Urchins / physiology
  • Spermatogenesis / physiology
  • Tetrahymena / physiology


  • Chromatin
  • Histones