Histone modification patterns and epigenetic codes

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Sep;1790(9):863-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagen.2008.12.006. Epub 2009 Jan 8.


The eukaryotic DNA is wrapped around histone octamers, which consist of four different histones, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4. The N-terminal tail of each histone is post-transcriptionally modified. The modification patterns constitute codes that regulate chromatin organisation and DNA utilization processes, including transcription. Recent progress in technology development has made it possible to perform systematic genome-wide studies of histone modifications. This helps immensely in deciphering the histone codes and their biological influence. In this review, we discuss the histone modification patterns found in genome-wide studies in different biological models and how they influence cell differentiation and carcinogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic*
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms / etiology


  • Histones