E-GEOD-42629 - Density and methylation state of CpG dinucleotides define histone variant specific retention of nucleosomes in mouse spermatozoa

Released on 15 June 2013, last updated on 4 July 2013
Mus musculus
Samples (21)
Protocols (4)
Nucleosomes are the principal packaging units of chromatin and critical for gene regulation and genome stability. In mammals, a subset of nucleosomes fail to be replaced by protamines during spermatogenesis and are retained in mature spermatozoa providing opportunities for paternal epigenetic transmission. In humans, the remaining 10% localize at regulatory elements of genes. To assess evolutionary conservation and to dissect the molecular logic underlying nucleosome retention, we determined the genome wide nucleosome occupancy in mouse spermatozoa that only contain 1% residual histones. In striking contrast to mammalian somatic cells and haploid round spermatids, we observe high enrichment of nucleosomes at CpG-rich sequences throughout the genome, at conserved regulatory sequences as well as at intra- and intergenic regions and repetitive DNA. This preferred occupancy occurs mutually exclusive with DNA methylation both in mouse and human sperm. At unmethylated CpG-rich sequences, residing nucleosomes are largely composed of the H3.3 histone variant, and trimethylated at lysine 4 (H3K4me3). Both canonical H3.1/H3.2 and H3.3 variant histones are present at promoters marked by Polycomb-mediated H3K27me3, which is strongly predictive for gene repression in pre-implantation embryos. Our data indicate important roles of DNA sequence composition, DNA methylation, variant H3.3 and canonical H3.1/H3.2 histones and associated modifications in nucleosome retention versus eviction during the histone-to-protamine remodeling process in elongating spermatids and potentially in epigenetic inheritance by nucleosomes between generations. Identification of histone, histone variant and histone modification states in round spermatids and sperm
Experiment types
ChIP-seq, methylation profiling by high throughput sequencing, RNA-seq of coding RNA 
Antoine Peters <antoine.peters@fmi.ch>, Dirk Schuebeler, Michael Stadler, Mizue Hisano, Rabih Murr, Serap Erkek
Exp. designProtocolsVariablesProcessedSeq. reads