Mass spectrometry analysis of dynamic post-translational modifications of TH2B during spermatogenesis

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Abstract

TH2B, an important testis histone, plays a key role in remodeling chromatin structure during spermatogenesis. We present a detailed study of post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histone TH2B from different developmental stages of sperm cells, using a combination of high performance liquid chromatography, enzymatic Glu-c digestions of peptides, liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC–MS) and LC–MS/MS analysis. The results showed modification patterns of the intact histone TH2B during spermatogenesis. Acetylated TH2B was most abundant in spermatogonia (28.9%) when compared with the spermatocytes (8.3%) and round spermatids (11.2%). Several new PTMs of TH2B were identified. In spermatogonia, spermatocytes and round spermatids, T116 and K117, were modified by phosphorylation and methylation, respectively, forming a novel ‘phospho switch’ site. The identified modification patterns of histone TH2B in spermatogenic cells provides a basis for future studies on histone coding and epigenetic regulation during spermatogenesis.

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