Tracking histone methylation in a living cell

June 21, 2022

Development of a fluorescent probe for histone H3 methylation using HP1α

A joint research group consisting of the RIKEN CSRS, RIKEN Cluster for Pioneering Research, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Waseda University, and the University of Tokyo has succeeded in developing a fluorescent probe that can detect the methylation of histone H3 and the associated interactions with the heterochromatin protein HP1α.

Histone modification, which plays a central role in epigenetics, changes dynamically in response to changes in the environment. However, it has been difficult to analyze in detail when and how histone modifications change in living cells by conventional experiments in which cells are fixed or a large number of cells are synchronized.

In this study, the joint research group developed Hismet-HP1αCD, a fluorescent probe that visualizes lysine 9 on histone H3 trimethylation (H3K9me3), and used this probe to reveal dynamic changes in the post-translational modification of histone H3 during cell division.

The results of this research are expected to enable the tracking of the kinetics of histone methylation in living cells and contribute to the development of histone methyltransferase (HMTase) inhibitors that act intracellularly.


Original article
Cell Chemical Biology doi:10.1016/j.chembiol.2022.05.006
K. Sasaki, M. Suzuki, T. Sonoda, T. Schneider-Poetsch, A. Ito, M. Takagi, S. Fujishiro, Y. Sohtome, K. Dodo, T. Umehara, H. Aburatani, K. Shin-ya, Y. Nakao, M. Sodeoka, M. Yoshida,
"Visualization of the dynamic interaction between nucleosomal histone H3K9 trimethylation and HP1α chromodomain in living cells".
Minoru Yoshida; Group DIrector
Kazuki Sasaki; Senior Scientist
Tilman Schneider-Poetsch; Research Scientist
Chemical Genomics Research Group