Profiling histone modifications in the normal mouse kidney and after unilateral ureteric obstruction

Timothy D. Hewitson, Stephen G. Holt, Chrishan S. Samuel, Belinda Wigg, Edward R. Smith

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Posttranslational modification of nucleosomal histones is a major determinant of chromatin structure and gene activity. In the present study, we hypothesized that unilateral ureteric obstruction (UUO), a widely used model of tubulointerstitial injury, would be associated with a distinct pattern of histone modifications (marks) in the kidney. Mass spectrometry was used to profile 63 different histone marks in normal mouse kidneys and those after 10 days of UUO. A subsequent histochemical analysis further examined examples of specific marks that changed significantly after UUO for which antisera are available. Histone marks were much more widely distributed and abundant in the normal kidney than is usually appreciated. Although aggregate analysis of the mass spectrometry results revealed net differences between control and UUO groups, residue-specific variations were subtle. Of the 16/63 significant changes (P < 0.05), only 8 changes were quantitatively different by >5%. Nevertheless, we identified several that are not usually examined in the kidney, including marks in the globular domain of core histones (H3:K79), linker histones (H1.4), and histone variants (H3.1:K27 and H3.3:K27). In several cases, there were complementary changes in different marks on the same amino acid. Using H3:K79ME2 as an example, mark enrichment was heterogeneous but largely colocalized with active transcription in a subset of tubular pathology. In conclusion, our study highlights the importance of unbiased screening in examining histone marks. Simultaneous changes in multiple marks on the same amino acid indicate a coordinated histone mark signature. The heterogeneous enrichment of marks, even within the same tubule, highlights the importance of regulatory context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)F606-F615
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Renal Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2019


  • fibrosis
  • gene regulation
  • histones
  • kidney
  • mass spectrometry
  • modifications
  • unilateral ureteric obstruction

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