Histone XH2AX Is Required for Xenopus Anterior Neural Development

S. Lee at al
Journal of Biological Chemistry
A role for histone H2AX, one of the variants of the nucleosome core histone H2A, has been demonstrated in DNA repair, tumor suppression, apoptosis, and cell cycle checkpoint function. However, the physiological function and post-translational modification of histone H2AX during vertebrate development have not been elucidated. Here, we provide evidence showing that Eenopus histone H2AX (XH2AX) has a role in the anterior neural plate for eye field formation during Xenopus embryogenesis. A loss-of-function study clearly demonstrated a critical role of XH2AX in anterior neural specification. Through a differentiation assay with xenopus animal cap embryonic stem cells, we confirmed that XH2AX is requuired for the activin-induced anterior neural specification of the ectoderm. Furthermore, we found that Chk1 is an essential kinase to phosphorylate histone XH2AX at Thr16 , which is involved in the biological function of this histone.  Taken together, our findings reveal that XH2AX has a specific role in anterior neural formation of Xenopus, which is mediated through phosphorylation of XH2AX at Thr16 by CHk1.