Histone modifications and nuclear architecture: a review

J Histochem Cytochem. 2008 Aug;56(8):711-21. doi: 10.1369/jhc.2008.951251. Epub 2008 May 12.


Epigenetic modifications, such as acetylation, phosphorylation, methylation, ubiquitination, and ADP ribosylation, of the highly conserved core histones, H2A, H2B, H3, and H4, influence the genetic potential of DNA. The enormous regulatory potential of histone modification is illustrated in the vast array of epigenetic markers found throughout the genome. More than the other types of histone modification, acetylation and methylation of specific lysine residues on N-terminal histone tails are fundamental for the formation of chromatin domains, such as euchromatin, and facultative and constitutive heterochromatin. In addition, the modification of histones can cause a region of chromatin to undergo nuclear compartmentalization and, as such, specific epigenetic markers are non-randomly distributed within interphase nuclei. In this review, we summarize the principles behind epigenetic compartmentalization and the functional consequences of chromatin arrangement within interphase nuclei.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Chromatin / ultrastructure
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / physiology
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / metabolism
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Gene Expression
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Interphase
  • Methylation


  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Histone Deacetylase Inhibitors
  • Histones
  • heterochromatin-specific nonhistone chromosomal protein HP-1