Histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 is enriched at probable transcription start sites in Trypanosoma brucei

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2010 Aug;172(2):141-4. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2010.03.013. Epub 2010 Mar 27.


Recent studies have identified histone modifications and suggested a role for epigenetic gene regulation in Trypanosoma brucei. The histone modification H4K10ac and histone variants H2AZ and H2BV localize to probable sites of transcription initiation. Although all T. brucei histones have very evolutionarily divergent N-terminal tails, histone H3 shows conservation with other eukaryotic organisms in 6 of 8 amino acids encompassing lysine 4. Tri-methylation of H3K4 is generally associated with transcription. We therefore generated a specific antibody to T. brucei H3K4me3 and performed chromosome immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing. We show that H3K4me3 is enriched at the start of polycistronic transcription units at divergent strand-switch regions and at other sites of RNA polymerase II transcription reinitiation. H3K4me3 largely co-localizes with H4K10ac, but with a skew towards the upstream side of the H4K10ac peak, suggesting that it is a component of specific nucleosomes that play a role in Pol II transcription initiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Lysine / metabolism*
  • Methylation
  • Protein Binding
  • Transcription Initiation Site*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / genetics*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / metabolism*


  • Histones
  • Lysine