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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Allelic isoforms of the chicken and duck histone H1.a

  • Ewa Górnicka-Michalska1,
  • Andrzej Kowalski1Email author and
  • Jan Pałyga1
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201419:182

Received: 22 July 2013

Accepted: 23 January 2014

Published: 6 February 2014


Two isoforms of the erythrocyte histone H1.a were identified in two conservative flocks of Rhode Island Red chickens and six conservative flocks of ducks. The H1.a1 and H1.a2 isoforms formed three phenotypes (a1, a2 and a1a2) and were electrophoretically similar in the two species. The frequency of phenotype and histone H1.a allele occurrence varied within the genetic groups of birds, but the relatively rare allele a 2 was only detected in chicken and duck strains with colored feathers. Using mass spectrometry, we established that the difference between the measured masses of the duck H1.a isoforms was 156 Da. Since this value corresponds to the mass of the arginine residue alone or to the combined mass of the valine and glycine residues, we believe that the polymorphism of duck histone H1.a might have originated from sequence variation. A mass difference of 1 Da observed between chicken H1.a isoforms corresponded well to the previously detected Glu/Lys substitution (0.9414 Da) at position 117.


ChickenDuckElectrophoresisHistone H1.aPolymorphismMass spectrometry