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Genome-wide occupancy reveals the localization of H1T2 (H1fnt) to repeat regions and a subset of transcriptionally active chromatin domains in rat spermatids
Epigenetics & Chromatin  (IF4.954),  Pub Date : 2021-01-06, DOI: 10.1186/s13072-020-00376-2
Vasantha Shalini, Utsa Bhaduri, Anjhana C. Ravikkumar, Anusha Rengarajan, Rao M. R. Satyanarayana

H1T2/H1FNT is a germ cell-specific linker histone variant expressed during spermiogenesis specifically in round and elongating spermatids. Infertile phenotype of homozygous H1T2 mutant male mice revealed the essential function of H1T2 for the DNA condensation and histone-to-protamine replacement in spermiogenesis. However, the mechanism by which H1T2 imparts the inherent polarity within spermatid nucleus including the additional protein partners and the genomic domains occupied by this linker histone are unknown. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of Walker motif, SR domains and putative coiled-coil domains in the C-terminal domain of rat H1T2 protein. Genome-wide occupancy analysis using highly specific antibody against the CTD of H1T2 demonstrated the binding of H1T2 to the LINE L1 repeat elements and to a significant percentage of the genic regions (promoter-TSS, exons and introns) of the rat spermatid genome. Immunoprecipitation followed by mass spectrometry analysis revealed the open chromatin architecture of H1T2 occupied chromatin encompassing the H4 acetylation and other histone PTMs characteristic of transcriptionally active chromatin. In addition, the present study has identified the interacting protein partners of H1T2-associated chromatin mainly as nucleo-skeleton components, RNA-binding proteins and chaperones. Linker histone H1T2 possesses unique domain architecture which can account for the specific functions associated with chromatin remodeling events facilitating the initiation of histone to transition proteins/protamine transition in the polar apical spermatid genome. Our results directly establish the unique function of H1T2 in nuclear shaping associated with spermiogenesis by mediating the interaction between chromatin and nucleo-skeleton, positioning the epigenetically specialized chromatin domains involved in transcription coupled histone replacement initiation towards the apical pole of round/elongating spermatids.