Isoform-specific phosphorylation of human linker histone H1.4 in mitosis by the kinase Aurora B

Sonja P. Hergeth, Miroslav Dundr, Philipp Tropberger, Barry M. Zee, Benjamin A. Garcia, Sylvain Daujat, Robert Schneider

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58 Scopus citations


The linker histone H1 plays an essential role in maintaining and establishing higher-order chromatin structure. As with core histones, histone H1 is also extensively covalently modified. We showed previously that phosphorylation of S27 in human histone H1.4 (H1.4S27-P), prevents binding of heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family members (officially known as chromobox protein homologs) to the neighboring dimethylated K26. Here, we present the first functional characterization of H1.4S27-P in vivo and in vitro. We show that H1.4S27 phosphorylation is cell-cycle-regulated and its levels peak on metaphase chromosomes. We identify further Aurora B as the kinase phosphorylating H1.4S27. We demonstrate that histone H1.4 is the only somatic linker histone variant targeted by Aurora B and that Aurora B exclusively phosphorylates S27. Adjacent K26 dimethylation can regulate Aurora B activity towards S27, uncovering a crosstalk between these modifications. Finally, our fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) analysis on histone H1.4 mutants suggests a role of S27 phosphorylation in the regulation of histone H1.4 mobility and chromatin binding in mitosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1623-1628
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 2011


  • Aurora B
  • Histone H1
  • Histone modification
  • Phosphorylation


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