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Review

The Role of MacroH2A Histone Variants in Cancer

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Internal Medicine C, Greifswald University Medicine, 17475 Greifswald, Germany
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Cancer and Leukaemia Epigenetics and Biology Program, Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute (IJC), Campus Can Ruti, 08916 Badalona, Spain
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Program for Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer, Germans Trias i Pujol Research Institute (PMPPC-IGTP), Campus Can Ruti, 08916 Badalona, Spain
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Leibniz Institute on Aging, Fritz-Lipmann Institute, 07745 Jena, Germany
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Aamir Ahmad
Cancers 2021, 13(12), 3003; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123003
Received: 12 May 2021 / Revised: 7 June 2021 / Accepted: 14 June 2021 / Published: 15 June 2021
The structural unit of chromatin is the nucleosome that is composed of DNA wrapped around a core of eight histone proteins. Histone variants can replace ‘standard’ histones at specific sites of the genome. Thus, histone variants modulate all functions in the context of chromatin, such as gene expression. Here, we provide a concise review on a group of histone variants termed macroH2A. They contain two additional domains that contribute to their increased size. We discuss how these domains mediate molecular functions in normal cells and the role of macroH2As in gene expression and cancer.
The epigenome regulates gene expression and provides a molecular memory of cellular events. A growing body of evidence has highlighted the importance of epigenetic regulation in physiological tissue homeostasis and malignant transformation. Among epigenetic mechanisms, the replacement of replication-coupled histones with histone variants is the least understood. Due to differences in protein sequence and genomic distribution, histone variants contribute to the plasticity of the epigenome. Here, we focus on the family of macroH2A histone variants that are particular in having a tripartite structure consisting of a histone fold, an intrinsically disordered linker and a globular macrodomain. We discuss how these domains mediate different molecular functions related to chromatin architecture, transcription and DNA repair. Dysregulated expression of macroH2A histone variants has been observed in different subtypes of cancer and has variable prognostic impact, depending on cellular context and molecular background. We aim to provide a concise review regarding the context- and isoform-dependent contributions of macroH2A histone variants to cancer development and progression. View Full-Text
Keywords: macroH2A; histone variants; epigenetics; chromatin; cancer; macrodomain; tumor suppressor; oncohistone; malignant transformation macroH2A; histone variants; epigenetics; chromatin; cancer; macrodomain; tumor suppressor; oncohistone; malignant transformation
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hsu, C.-J.; Meers, O.; Buschbeck, M.; Heidel, F.H. The Role of MacroH2A Histone Variants in Cancer. Cancers 2021, 13, 3003. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123003

AMA Style

Hsu C-J, Meers O, Buschbeck M, Heidel FH. The Role of MacroH2A Histone Variants in Cancer. Cancers. 2021; 13(12):3003. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123003

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hsu, Chen-Jen, Oliver Meers, Marcus Buschbeck, and Florian H. Heidel. 2021. "The Role of MacroH2A Histone Variants in Cancer" Cancers 13, no. 12: 3003. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers13123003

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