Stage-specific switches in histone synthesis during embryogenesis of the sea urchin

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Science  05 Dec 1975:
Vol. 190, Issue 4218, pp. 994-997
DOI: 10.1126/science.1237932


Histones H2A and H2B of the sea urchin embryo have been resolved by new methods into components that are synthesized at different stages of development. One form of H2A and one form of H2B are synthesized only during the period from fertilization to the blastula stage. Subsequently, two other types of H2A and H2B molecules are synthesized. In addition, a histonelike protein was detected which is synthesized only from fertilization until the 16-cell stage when the synthesis of still another H2A-like protein begins. None of the late-appearing forms are derived from histone polypeptide chains synthesized earlier in development. Since the early components do not disappear after their synthesis stops, these modulations of histone synthesis lead to an increase in histone multiplicity, concomitant with the beginning of cell diversification and a decrease in cell division rate.