Using a model comparison approach to describe the assembly pathway for histone H1

Carlos Contreras, Minaya Villasana, Michael J. Hendzel, Gustavo Carrero

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Histones H1 or linker histones are highly dynamic proteins that diffuse throughout the cell nucleus and associate with chromatin (DNA and associated proteins). This binding interaction of histone H1 with the chromatin is thought to regulate chromatin organization and DNA accessibility to transcription factors and has been proven to involve a kinetic process characterized by a population that associates weakly with chromatin and rapidly dissociates and another population that resides at a binding site for up to several minutes before dissociating. When considering differences between these two classes of interactions in a mathematical model for the purpose of describing and quantifying the dynamics of histone H1, it becomes apparent that there could be several assembly pathways that explain the kinetic data obtained in living cells. In this work, we model these different pathways using systems of reaction-diffusion equations and carry out a model comparison analysis using FRAP (fluorescence recovery after photobleaching) experimental data from different histone H1 variants to determine the most feasible mechanism to explain histone H1 binding to chromatin. The analysis favors four different chromatin assembly pathways for histone H1 which share common features and provide meaningful biological information on histone H1 dynamics. We show, using perturbation analysis, that the explicit consideration of high- and low-affinity associations of histone H1 with chromatin in the favored assembly pathways improves the interpretation of histone H1 experimental FRAP data. To illustrate the results, we use one of the favored models to assess the kinetic changes of histone H1 after core histone hyperacetylation, and conclude that this post-transcriptional modification does not affect significantly the transition of histone H1 from a weakly bound state to a tightly bound state.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0191562
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2018


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