We have cloned and characterized members of a small multigene family that encodes late-stage histone H3 and H4 mRNAs from the sea urchin Lytechinus pictus. Unlike their highly repetitive histone gene counterparts, which are expressed at an earlier developmental stage, late H3 and H4 histone genes are not present in tandem repeats. In addition, the late stage H3 and H4 genes are not always tightly clustered together with the H1, H2A and H2B genes as they are in early histone genes. The spacer DNA that separates adjoining H3 and H4 coding regions is not conserved between nonallelic members of the late histone gene family. We have determined the nucleotide sequence of a continuous 2100 bp segment of DNA including both H3 and H4 coding sequences, the entire spacer DNA separating the genes and surrounding nonhistone DNA. The late histone H3 and H4 genes encode proteins identical to their early gene counterparts; however, the 5′ leader sequence is shorter in late genes and the codon usage is different.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)