Variants of Core Histones: Modulators of Chromatin Structure and Function (Sandra Hake)

Variants of Core Histones: Modulators of Chromatin Structure and Function (Sandra Hake)

In this episode of the Epigenetics Podcast, we caught up with Sandra Hake from the Justus Liebig University in Giessen to talk about her work on variants of core histones and their role as modulators of chromatin structure and function.

The overarching goal of Sandra Hake's research group is to understand how changes in chromatin structure and composition can influence various DNA-based processes, such as gene expression, repair of DNA damage, cell cycle progression, and genome stability. Their work deals with the study of histone variants which, together with DNA, represent the building blocks of the smallest chromatin components, the nucleosomes. They also investigate whether mutations and/or post-translational histone modifications and the deregulation of histone variant networks influence the emergence of diseases, especially the emergence of tumors.

In this episode we discuss how Sandra Hake approaches the characterization and identification of novel histone variants like H3.3, H3.X and H3.Y, what it's like to work in such a small field like histone variants, and what is coming up next for the Hake lab.



  • Hake, S. B., Garcia, B. A., Duncan, E. M., Kauer, M., Dellaire, G., Shabanowitz, J., Bazett-Jones, D. P., Allis, C. D., & Hunt, D. F. (2006). Expression Patterns and Post-translational Modifications Associated with Mammalian Histone H3 Variants. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 281(1), 559–568.

Wiedemann, S. M., Mildner, S. N., Bönisch, C., Israel, L., Maiser, A., Matheisl, S., Straub, T., Merkl, R., Leonhardt, H., Kremmer, E., Schermelleh, L., & Hake, S. B. (2010). Identification and characterization of two novel primate-specific histone H3 variants, H3.X and H3.Y. Journal of Cell Biology, 190(5), 777–791.

Bönisch, C., Schneider, K., Pünzeler, S., Wiedemann, S. M., Bielmeier, C., Bocola, M., Eberl, H. C., Kuegel, W., Neumann, J., Kremmer, E., Leonhardt, H., Mann, M., Michaelis, J., Schermelleh, L., & Hake, S. B. (2012). H2A.Z.2.2 is an alternatively spliced histone H2A.Z variant that causes severe nucleosome destabilization. Nucleic Acids Research, 40(13), 5951–5964.

Link, S., Spitzer, R. M. M., Sana, M., Torrado, M., Völker-Albert, M. C., Keilhauer, E. C., Burgold, T., Pünzeler, S., Low, J. K. K., Lindström, I., Nist, A., Regnard, C., Stiewe, T., Hendrich, B., Imhof, A., Mann, M., Mackay, J. P., Bartkuhn, M., & Hake, S. B. (2018). PWWP2A binds distinct chromatin moieties and interacts with an MTA1-specific core NuRD complex. Nature Communications, 9(1), 4300.


Related Episodes

Influence of Histone Variants on Chromatin Structure and Metabolism (Marcus Buschbeck)

Chromatin Analysis using Mass Spectrometry (Axel Imhof)



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