Characterization of histones and their post-translational modifications by mass spectrometry

Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2007 Feb;11(1):66-73. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2006.11.022. Epub 2006 Dec 6.


Histone proteins and their accompanying post-translational modifications have received much attention for their ability to affect chromatin structure and, hence, regulate gene expression. Recently, mass spectrometry has become an important complementary tool for the analysis of histone variants and modification sites, for determining the degree of occupancy of these modifications and for quantifying differential expression of these modifications from various samples. Additionally, as advancements in mass spectrometry technologies continue, the ability to read entire 'histone codes' across large regions of histone polypeptides or intact protein is possible. As chromatin biology demands, mass spectrometry has adapted and continues as a key technology for the analysis of gene regulation networks involving histone modifications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chromatin / chemistry
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology
  • Histones / chemistry*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry*
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Peptide Mapping*
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational*


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Peptide Fragments