Biochemistry, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2001


Published in The EMBO Journal Vol. 20 No. 9 pp. 2224-2235, 2001.


We have studied developmentally regulated patterns of histone acetylation at high resolution across ~54 kb of DNA containing three independently regulated but neighboring genetic loci. These include a folate receptor gene, a 16 kb condensed chromatin region, the chicken β-globin domain and an adjacent olfactory receptor gene. Within these regions the relative levels of acetylation appear to fall into three classes. The condensed chromatin region maintains the lowest acetylation at every developmental stage. Genes that are inactive show similarly low levels, but activation results in a dramatic increase in acetylation. The highest levels of acetylation are seen at regulatory sites upstream of the genes. These patterns imply the action of more than one class of acetylation. Notably, there is a very strong constitutive focus of hyperacetylation at the 5' insulator element separating the globin locus from the folate receptor region, which suggests that this insulator element may harbor a high concentration of histone acetylases.