Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 17591696
Mol. Cell. Biol. 2007 Sep;27(17):6093-102
The deletion of the neuronal Nap1l2 (nucleosome assembly protein 1-like 2) gene in mice causes neural tube defects. We demonstrate here that this phenotype correlates with deficiencies in differentiation and increased maintenance of the neural stem cell stage. Nap1l2 associates with chromatin and interacts with histones H3 and H4. Loss of Nap1l2 results in decreased histone acetylation activity, leading to transcriptional changes in differentiating neurons, which include the marked downregulation of the Cdkn1c (cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 1c) gene. Cdkn1c expression normally increases during neuronal differentiation, and this correlates with the specific recruitment of the Nap1l2 protein and an increase in acetylated histone H3K9/14 at the site of Cdkn1c transcription. These results lead us to suggest that the Nap1l2 protein plays an important role in regulating transcription in developing neurons via the control of histone acetylation. Our data support the idea that neuronal nucleosome assembly proteins mediate cell-type-specific mechanisms of establishment/modification of a chromatin-permissive state that can affect neurogenesis and neuronal survival.