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The histone 2A variant macroH2A1.2 is expressed in female and male mammals and is implicated in X-chromosome inactivation and autosomal gene silencing. In undifferentiated and early differentiating murine embryonic stem (ES) cells a cytosolic pool of macroH2A1.2 has recently been reported and found to be associated with the centrosome. Here, we show that the centrosomal association of macroH2A1.2 is a widespread phenomenon and is not restricted to undifferentiated and early differentiating ES cells. By indirect immunofluorescence we detect macroH2A1.2 protein in a juxtanuclear structure that duplicates once per cell cycle and colocalizes with centrosomal gamma-tubulin in both XX and XY ES cells prior to and throughout their differentiation. MacroH2A1.2 localization to the centrosome is also observed in female and male somatic cells, both in interphase and in mitosis. Biochemical analysis demonstrates that the association between macroH2A1.2 and the centrosome in somatic cells is stable, as macroH2A1.2 copurifies with centrosomes isolated from human lymphoblasts. Therefore, in addition to a nuclear pool of macroH2A1.2 a fraction of the histone is associated with the centrosome in various cell types and throughout ES cell differentiation.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Cell Res

Publication Date





245 - 251


Animals, Cell Differentiation, Cells, Cultured, Centrosome, Dosage Compensation, Genetic, Embryo, Mammalian, Female, Histones, Male, Mice, Stem Cells, X Chromosome, Y Chromosome