UMMS Affiliation

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology

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Document Type



Amino Acids, Peptides, and Proteins | Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology | Cell Biology | Genetics and Genomics


Transcription in eukaryotes correlates with major chromatin changes, including the replacement of old nucleosomal histones by new histones at the promoters of genes. The role of these histone exchange events in transcription remains unclear. In particular, the causal relationship between histone exchange and activator binding, preinitiation complex (PIC) assembly, and/or subsequent transcription remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence that histone exchange at gene promoters is not simply a consequence of PIC assembly or transcription but instead is mediated by activators. We further show that not all activators up-regulate gene expression by inducing histone turnover. Thus, histone exchange does not simply correlate with transcriptional activity, but instead reflects the mode of action of the activator. Last, we show that histone turnover is not only associated with activator function but also plays a role in transcriptional repression at the histone loci.


histone exchange

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Copyright © 2020 The Authors. No claim to original U.S. Government Works. Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial License 4.0 (CC BY-NC). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI of Published Version



Kassem S, Ferrari P, Hughes AL, Soudet J, Rando OJ, Strubin M. Histone exchange is associated with activator function at transcribed promoters and with repression at histone loci. Sci Adv. 2020 Sep 2;6(36):eabb0333. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb0333. PMID: 32917590; PMCID: PMC7467701. Link to article on publisher's site

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Science advances

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License