Histone crotonylation specifically marks the haploid male germ cell gene expression program: post-meiotic male-specific gene expression

Bioessays. 2012 Mar;34(3):187-93. doi: 10.1002/bies.201100141. Epub 2011 Dec 15.


The haploid male germ cell differentiation program controls essential steps of male gametogenesis and relies partly on a significant number of sex chromosome-linked genes. These genes need to escape chromosome-wide transcriptional repression of sex chromosomes, which occurs during meiosis and is largely maintained in post-meiotic cells. A newly discovered histone lysine modification, crotonylation (Kcr), marks X/Y-linked genes that are active in post-meiotic male germ cells. Histone Kcr, by conferring resistance to transcriptional repressors, could be a dominant element in maintaining these genes active in the globally repressive environment of haploid cell sex chromosomes. Furthermore, the same mark was found associated with post-meiotically activated genes on autosomes. Histone Kcr therefore appears to be an indicator of the male haploid cell gene expression program and a notable element of genome programming in the post-meiotic phases of spermatogenesis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genes, X-Linked
  • Genes, Y-Linked
  • Haploidy*
  • Histone Deacetylases / genetics
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mammals
  • Meiosis*
  • Sex Chromosomes / genetics
  • Sex Chromosomes / metabolism*
  • Spermatocytes / cytology*
  • Spermatocytes / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / cytology
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation


  • Histones
  • Histone Deacetylases