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  • Histone H1 regulates gene activity throughout the cell cycle

    Craig Mizzen, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois, right; Yupeng Zheng, a doctoral student at the time of the study; and their colleagues discovered that the phosphorylated H1 histone protein has an important role in regulating gene activity.

    Craig Mizzen, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois, right; Yupeng Zheng, a doctoral student at the time of the study; and their colleagues discovered that the phosphorylated H1 histone protein has an important role in regulating gene activity.

    Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      Craig Mizzen, a professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of Illinois, right; Yupeng Zheng, a doctoral student at the time of the study; and their colleagues discovered that the phosphorylated H1 histone protein has an important role in regulating gene activity.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      The cell's genetic material, DNA, is packaged into tightly wound structures called nucleosomes. The DNA (red) is wound around two sets of core histone proteins (green) to form a kind of bead on a string. The H1 histone protein clamps the DNA into place where it enters and exits a bead. There are well over a million nucleosomes in the nucleus of a cell.

      Public domain image found at Wikipedia

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      Here are three views of the same human cells with different staining of the nucleus. In the frame on the left, the cells are stained with an antibody attached to a green fluorescent tag that targets a single phosphorylation site on the H1 histone protein. The center panel shows that in the same cells Bromo-UTP preferentially labels sites of ribosomal RNA synthesis. On the right, both types of fluorescence show that the phosphorylated HI histone is found at high levels in regions of RNA synthesis.

      Image courtesy Craig Mizzen

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