High-resolution mapping of H4K16 and H3K23 acetylation reveals conserved and unique distribution patterns in Arabidopsis and rice

Li Lu, Xiangsong Chen, Dean Sanders, Shuiming Qian, Xuehua Zhong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Histone acetylation and deacetylation are key epigenetic gene regulatory mechanisms that play critical roles in eukaryotes. Acetylation of histone 4 lysine 16 (H4K16ac) is implicated in many cellular processes. However, its biological function and relationship with transcription are largely unexplored in plants. We generated first genome-wide high-resolution maps of H4K16ac in Arabidopsis thaliana and Oryza sativa. We showed that H4K16ac is preferentially enriched around the transcription start sites and positively correlates with gene expression levels. Co-existence of H4K16ac and H3K23ac is correlated with high gene expression levels, suggesting a potentially combinatorial effect of H4K16ac and H3K23ac histone 3 lysine 23 acetylation on gene expression. Our data further revealed that while genes enriched with both H4K16ac and H3K23ac are ubiquitously expressed, genes enriched with only H4K16ac or H3K23ac showed significantly distinct expression patterns in association with particular developmental stages. Unexpectedly, and unlike in Arabidopsis, there are significant levels of both H4K16ac and H3K23ac in the lowly expressed genes in rice. Furthermore, we found that H4K16ac-enriched genes are associated with different biological processes in Arabidopsis and rice, suggesting a potentially species-specific role of H4K16ac in plants. Together, our genome-wide profiling reveals the conserved and unique distribution patterns of H4K16ac and H3K23ac in Arabidopsis and rice and provides a foundation for further understanding their function in plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1044-1053
Number of pages10
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2015


  • Arabidopsis
  • Epigenome
  • Gene regulation
  • H4K16ac
  • Histone acetylation
  • Plant development
  • Rice


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