Menu

Stockpiling Histones

Histones stored on lipid droplets in fly embryos provide a backup supply when newly synthesized ones are lacking.

Feb 1, 2013
Kerry Grens

EDITOR'S CHOICE IN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY

HISTONE STORES: Wild-type Drosophila embryos contain an abundance of H2B histones (top layer, left), while engineered embryos (right) do not.© COURTESY OF ZHIHUAN LI

The paper
Z. Li et al., “Lipid droplets control the maternal histone supply of Drosophila embryos,” Curr Biol, 22: 2104-13, 2012.

The finding
Excess free-floating histones are toxic to cells. Yet researchers have observed massive stores of maternally supplied histones, bound to lipid droplets, in Drosophila embryonic cells. To understand the function of these fat-associated histones, Michael Welte of the University of Rochester and his colleagues disrupted the synthesis of new histones in fly embryos and found support for the idea that lipid droplets help the embryo safely store the excess pre-made histones for times of need.

The partner
By purifying the droplets and isolating the associated proteins, Welte’s group identified a new protein, Jabba, which anchors histones to lipid droplets. When they engineered embryos that lacked Jabba, they found that lipid droplets were devoid of histones. Surprisingly, the embryos developed normally, illustrating that new histones made by the embryos were sufficient to keep them alive.

The function
However, when the researchers both prevented histone expression and wiped out the histones on lipid droplets, the embryos died. “We interpret that the histone store on lipid droplets is sort of a backup mechanism,” says Welte. “Usually, the embryo can probably get away with making its own histones, but if you stress [the histone supply] a little bit, then the histones on lipid droplets become crucial.”

The conservation
Akash Gunjan at Florida State University who was not involved in the study says that the rainy-day storage function of lipid droplets makes sense for organisms whose swift development doesn’t allow a lot of time for translation. “It’s a good idea for them to have a ready-made store of histones that they can quickly make use of for the rapid embryonic cell cycles,” he says.
 

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening