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Genome-wide promoter analysis of histone modifications in human monocyte-derived antigen presenting cells

Liina Tserel1, Raivo Kolde2, Ana Rebane1, Kai Kisand1, Tõnis Org1, Hedi Peterson2, Jaak Vilo2 and Pärt Peterson1*

Author Affiliations

1 Molecular Pathology, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

2 Institute of Computer Science, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia

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BMC Genomics 2010, 11:642  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-642

Published: 18 November 2010



Monocyte-derived macrophages and dendritic cells (DCs) are important in inflammatory processes and are often used for immunotherapeutic approaches. Blood monocytes can be differentiated into macrophages and DCs, which is accompanied with transcriptional changes in many genes, including chemokines and cell surface markers.


To study the chromatin modifications associated with this differentiation, we performed a genome wide analysis of histone H3 trimethylation on lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and 27 (H3K27me3) as well as acetylation of H3 lysines (AcH3) in promoter regions. We report that both H3K4me3 and AcH3 marks significantly correlate with transcriptionally active genes whereas H3K27me3 mark is associated with inactive gene promoters. During differentiation, the H3K4me3 levels decreased on monocyte-specific CD14, CCR2 and CX3CR1 but increased on DC-specific TM7SF4/DC-STAMP, TREM2 and CD209/DC-SIGN genes. Genes associated with phagocytosis and antigen presentation were marked by H3K4me3 modifications. We also report that H3K4me3 levels on clustered chemokine and surface marker genes often correlate with transcriptional activity.


Our results provide a basis for further functional correlations between gene expression and histone modifications in monocyte-derived macrophages and DCs.