A novel, enigmatic histone modification: Biotinylation of histones by holocarboxylase synthetase

Yousef I. Hassan, Janos Zempleni

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

34 Scopus citations


Holocarboxylase synthetase catalyzes the covalent binding of biotin to histones in humans and other eukaryotes. Eleven biotinylation sites have been identified in histones H2A, H3, and H4. K12-biotinylated histone H4 is enriched in heterochromatin, repeat regions, and plays a role in gene repression. About 30% of the histone H4 molecules are biotinylated at K12 in histone H4 in human fibroblast telomeres. The abundance of biotinylated histones at distinct genomic loci depends on biotin availability. Decreased histone biotinylation decreases life span and stress resistance in Drosophila. Low enrichment of biotinylated histones at transposable elements impairs repression of these elements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)721-725
Number of pages5
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008



  • Biotin
  • Chromatin
  • Epigenetics
  • Histones
  • Holocarboxylase synthetase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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