HP1beta and HP1gamma, but not HP1alpha, decorate the entire XY body during human male meiosis.


During meiosis in male mammals, the X and Y chromosomes become heterochromatic and transcriptionally silent, and form the XY body. Although the HP1 proteins are known to be involved in the packaging of chromosomal DNA into repressive heterochromatin domains, their involvement in facultative heterochromatinization has not been precisely determined. Here, we analyse, for the first time in humans, the subcellular distribution of the heterochromatin protein HP1alpha, HP1beta and HP1gamma isoforms, in male pachytene spermatocytes, and the XY body facultative heterochromatin in particular. Our results demonstrate that HP1beta and HP1gamma, but not the HP1alpha isoforms, decorate the entire XY body in half the pachytene nuclei observed. In some nuclei, the XY body appears to be only partially labelled. In these cases, the HP1beta and HP1gamma signals are adjacent to the Yq12 constitutive heterochromatin and signal appears to originate in this region before spreading over the entire XY body. This distribution suggests that HP1beta and HP1gamma proteins, which are components of the constitutive heterochromatin, may also be involved in the facultative heterochromatinization of the XY body. Nevertheless, their absence from the early pachytene substage, even though the XY body is already condensed, suggests that these proteins are not involved in the initiation of this process.

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@article{MetzlerGuillemain2003HP1betaAH, title={HP1beta and HP1gamma, but not HP1alpha, decorate the entire XY body during human male meiosis.}, author={Catherine Metzler-Guillemain and J C Luciani and Danielle Depetris and M . R . Guichaoua and Marie Genevi{\`e}ve Mattei}, journal={Chromosome research : an international journal on the molecular, supramolecular and evolutionary aspects of chromosome biology}, year={2003}, volume={11 1}, pages={73-81} }