In vivo HP1 targeting causes large-scale chromatin condensation and enhanced histone lysine methylation

Pernette J. Verschure, Ineke Van Der Kraan, Wim De Leeuw, Johan Van Der Vlag, Anne E. Carpenter, Andrew S. Belmont, Roel Van Driel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Changes in chromatin structure are a key aspect in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression. We have used a lac operator array system to visualize by light microscopy the effect of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) α (HP1α) and HP1β on large-scale chromatin structure in living mammalian cells. The structure of HP1, containing a chromodomain, a chromoshadow domain, and a hinge domain, allows it to bind to a variety of proteins. In vivo targeting of an enhanced green fluorescent protein-tagged HP1-lac repressor fusion to a lac operator-containing, gene-amplified chromosome region causes local condensation of the higher-order chromatin structure, recruitment of the histone methyltransferase SETDB1, and enhanced trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9. Polycomb group proteins of both the HPC/HPH and the EED/EZH2 complexes, which are involved in the heritable repression of gene activity, are not recruited to the amplified chromosome region by HP1α and HP1β in vivo targeting. HP1α targeting causes the recruitment of endogenous HP1β to the chromatin region and vice versa, indicating a direct interaction between the two HP1 homologous proteins. Our findings indicate that HP1α and HP1β targeting is sufficient to induce heterochromatin formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4552-4564
Number of pages13
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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