The Saccharomyces cerevisiae linker histone Hho1p is essential for chromatin compaction in stationary phase and is displaced by transcription
The importance of core histones in the regulation of DNA function by chromatin is clear. However, little is known about the role of the linker histone. We investigated the role of H1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae during extensive transcriptional reprogramming in stationary phase. Although the levels of linker histone Hho1p remained constant during growth to semiquiescence, there was a genome-wide increase in binding to chromatin. Hho1p was essential for compaction of chromatin in stationary phase, but not for general transcriptional repression. A clear, genome-wide anticorrelation was seen between the level of bound Hho1p and gene expression. Surprisingly, the rank order of gene activity was maintained even in the absence of Hho1p. Based on these findings, we suggest that linker histone Hho1p has a limited role in transcriptional regulation and that the dynamically exchanging linker histone may be evicted from chromatin by transcriptional activity. © 2008 by The National Academy of Sciences of the USA.