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Biomed Biochim Acta 1990 Jan 01;498-9:855-77.
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Histones in Xenopus laevis' early development: the race against time.

Koster JG , Destrée OH , Raat NJ , Westerhoff HV .

Using cloned histone gene variants, the expression of three types of histone gene clusters was studied at the RNA level during early development in Xenopus laevis. For each histone class the number of mRNA molecules per embryo strongly decreased upon ovulation and steadily increased during early development, with a slight decrease at the neurula stage. Variation of the stringency of hybridization revealed that none of the histone genes probed is specifically and uniquely expressed at any time point in embryogenesis. The observed variation of histone mRNA content with time after fertilization is consistent with what is known about rate constants for RNA synthesis and degradation and about histone mRNA storage in the oocyte, provided that approximately 11 h after fertilization a regulatory transition is proposed (KOSTER, DESTREE and WESTERHOFF (1988) J. Theor. Biol. 135, 139-167). Similarly, the observed amounts of histone mRNA could well be sufficient to direct the synthesis of the required amount of histone protein. Control Analysis reveals that late in development, the histone to DNA ratio is controlled virtually equally strongly by the rate constants of DNA replication, transcription and translation. The control coefficient for RNA degradation is only a little smaller, whereas that for proteolysis is negligible. Indeed, the deceleration of DNA synthesis around the Mid Blastula Transition (some 8 h after fertilization in our studies) is a regulatory step that is essential in order to allow Xenopus to synthesize sufficient histones to structure its DNA; otherwise the embryo would run out of histone protein and histone mRNA soon thereafter. A model that assumes that the lengthening of the cell cycle around the Mid Blastula Transition it itself a response to the decrease in the concentration of histone protein not complexed to DNA, is shown to account for the dynamics of histone and DNA synthesis during the first 50 h after fertilization.

PubMed ID: 2082927

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: cyp26a1 h1-3