Condensed and late-replicating interphase chromatin in the Dipertan insect Chironomus contains a divergent type of histone H1 with an inserted KAP-KAP repeat that is conserved in single H1 variants of Caenorhabditis elegans and Volvox carteri. H1 peptides comprising the insertion interact specifically with DNA. The Chironomid Glyptotendipes exhibits a corresponding correlation between the presence of condensed chromosome sections and the appearance of a divergent H1 subtype. The centromere regions and other sections of Glyptotendipes barbipes chromosomes are inaccessible to immunodecoration by anti-H2B and anti-H1 antibodies one of which is known to recognize nine different epitopes in all domains of the H1 molecule. Microelectrophoresis of the histones from manually isolated unfixed centromeres revealed the presence of H1 and core histones. H1 genes of G. barpipes were sequenced and found to belong to two groups. H1 II and H1 III are rather similar but differ remarkably from H1 I. About 30% of the deduced amino acid residues were found to be unique to H1 I. Most conspicuous is the insertion, SPAKSPGR, in H1 I that is lacking in H1 II and H1 III and at its position gives rise to the sequence repeat SPAKSPAKSPGR. The homologous H1 I gene in Glyptotendipes salinus encodes the very similar repeat TPAKSPAKSPGR. Both sequences are structurally related to the KAPKAP repeat in H1 I-1 specific for condensed chromosome sites in Chironomus and to the SPKKSPKK repeat in sea urchin sperm H1, lie at almost the same distance from the central globular domain, and could interact with linker DNA in packaging condensed chromatin.

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