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Background: MacroH2A1 is a histone variant that is closely associated with the repressed regions of chromosomes. A recent study revealed that this histone variant is highly enriched in the inactive alleles of Imprinting Control Regions (ICRs). Results: The current study investigates the potential roles of macroH2A1 in genomic imprinting by lowering the cellular levels of the macroH2A1 protein. RNAi-based macroH2A1 knockdown experiments in Neuro2A cells changed the expression levels of a subset of genes, including Peg3 and Usp29 of the Peg3 domain. The expression of these genes was down-regulated, rather than up-regulated, in response to reduced protein levels of the potential repressor macroH2A1. This down-regulation was not accompanied with changes in the DNA methylation status of the Peg3 domain. Conclusion: MacroH2A1 may not function as a transcriptional repressor for this domain, but that macroH2A1 may participate in the heterochromatin formation with functions yet to be discovered. © 2007 Choo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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BMC Genomics