Macro histone variants are critical for the differentiation of human pluripotent cells

J Biol Chem. 2013 May 31;288(22):16110-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.466144. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


We have previously shown that macro histone variants (macroH2A) are expressed at low levels in stem cells and are up-regulated during differentiation. Here we show that the knockdown of macro histone variants impaired the in vitro and in vivo differentiation of human pluripotent cells, likely through defects in the silencing of pluripotency-related genes. ChIP experiments showed that during differentiation macro histone variants are recruited to the regulatory regions of pluripotency and developmental genes marked with H3K27me3 contributing to the silencing of these genes.

Keywords: Chromatin; Differentiation; Induced Pluripotent Stem (iPS) Cell; Macro Histone Variants; Pluripotency; Stem Cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Line
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Histones / biosynthesis*
  • Histones / genetics
  • Humans
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / cytology
  • Pluripotent Stem Cells / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation / physiology*


  • Histones
  • macroH2A histone