K16-biotinylated histone H4 is overrepresented in repeat regions and participates in the repression of transcriptionally competent genes in human Jurkat lymphoid cells

Luisa Rios-Avila, Valerie Pestinger, Janos Zempleni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations


Holocarboxylase synthetase (HCS) catalyzes the binding of biotin to lysine (K) residues in histones H3 and H4. Histone biotinylation marks are enriched in repressed loci, including retrotransposons. Preliminary studies suggested that K16 in histone H4 is a target for biotinylation by HCS. Here we tested the hypotheses that H4K16bio is a real histone mark in human chromatin and that H4K16bio is overrepresented in repressed gene loci and repeat regions. Polyclonal rabbit anti-human H4K16bio was generated and affinity purified. An extensive series of testing with synthetic and natural targets confirmed that this new antibody is specific for H4K16bio. Using anti-H4K16bio and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, we demonstrated that H4K16bio is overrepresented in repeat regions [pericentromeric alpha satellite repeats and long terminal repeats (LTR)] compared with euchromatin promoters. H4K16bio was also enriched in the repressed interleukin-2 gene promoter in human lymphoid cells; transcriptional activation of the interleukin-2 gene by mitogens and phorbol esters coincided with a depletion of the H4K16bio mark at the gene promoter. The enrichment of H4K16bio depended on biotin supply; the enrichment at LTR22 and promoter 1 of the sodium-dependent multivitamin transporter (SMVT) was greater in biotin-supplemented cells compared with biotin-normal and biotin-deficient cells. The enrichment of H4K16bio at LTR15 and SMVT promoter 1 was significantly lower in fibroblasts from an HCS-deficient patient compared with an HCS wild-type control. We conclude that H4K16bio is a real phenomenon and that this mark, like other biotinylation marks, is overrepresented in repressed loci where it marks HCS docking sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1559-1564
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Nutritional Biochemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012



  • Biotin
  • Histone
  • Holocarboxylase synthetase
  • Human

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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