Epigenetics mark regulatory elements

Unique histone modifications distinguish transcriptional promoters and enhancers

Melissa Lee Phillips
Feb 4, 2007
Distinct chromatin modifications identify human transcriptional promoters and enhancers, and these marks can be used to predict novel regulatory elements, according to a new paper in Nature Genetics. The study reports that trimethylation of a particular amino acid residue in histone H3 consistently identifies promoters, while monomethylation of the same residue marks enhancers. "This is the first time that we've discovered a histone modification mark that is different between enhancers and promoters," said senior author Bing Ren of the University of Califonria, San Diego (UCSD). The promoter signature is "consistent with previous findings in other organisms," Ren said, but "the enhancer-specific marks are novel." Previous work identified histone modifications, such as acetylation and methylation, that are associated with regulatory elements involved in gene transcription. Work in yeast, flies, and mice showed that active promoters are often marked by trimethylation of a lysine residue in histone H3, but this...

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