Testis-specific histone H1t gene is hypermethylated in nongerminal cells in the mouse

R. Singal, J. VanWert, M. Bashambu, S. A. Wolfe, D. C. Wilkerson, S. R. Grimes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The testis-specific histone H1t gene is expressed only in pachytene primary spermatocytes during spermatogenesis. There is a correlation between the specific binding of testis nuclear proteins to a rat histone H1t promoter sequence, designated the H1t/TE element, and the onset of transcription in primary spermatocytes. Our laboratory has shown that mice bearing the rat gene with a deletion of the TE promoter element and replacement with a heterologous stuffer DNA fragment fail to express the rat H1t transgene in any tissue. In this study we report that five CpGs located within the H1t proximal promoter, including two CpGs located within the essential TE promoter element, contain unmethylated cytosines in vivo in genomic DNA derived from primary spermatocytes where the H1t gene is expressed. All seven CpGs are hypermethylated in vivo in genomic DNA derived from liver cells where gene expression is repressed. Further, in vitro methylation of an H1t promoter-driven reporter plasmid markedly reduced expression in a transient transfection assay system. These results suggest that cytosine methylation may contribute to the transcriptional silencing of the testis-specific histone H1t gene in nonexpressing tissues such as liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1237-1244
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Gene regulation
  • Sperm maturation
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Embryology


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