Date of Completion

Spring 5-9-2010

Thesis Advisor(s)

Theodore Rasmussen

Honors Major



Cell Biology | Life Sciences | Microbiology


MacroH2A is a core histone variant that plays an important role in the X-inactivation process during differentiation of embryonic stem cells. It has been shown that macroH2A changes in localization during the cell cycle of somatic cells. This study aims to determine how macroH2A changes during the cell cycle of embryonic stem cells. Male and female mouse embryonic stem cells were transfected with a GFP::macroH2A construct and the relationship between macroH2A and the cell cycle was determined using FACS. This study shows that macroH2A is altered during the cell cycle of embryonic stem cells as it is in somatic cells and that in randomly cycling cells, there is a correlation between macroH2A expression and the phases of the cell cycle. High GFP expressing cells are mostly in the G2/M phase and low GFP expressing cells are mostly in the G1 phase. This correlation indicated that macroH2A is replicated with cellular DNA during the S phase resulting in higher expression in the G2/M phase. Future research, such as RT-PCR and differentiation experiments, is needed to further study this relationship and determine whether this change is at the protein or RNA level and how it changes during differentiation.