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A histone code controls positional identity in limb regeneration – Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology

Limb regeneration in axolotls and other amphibians is possible because the remaining connective tissue cells retain segment-specific identities, known as ‘positional information’. To uncover how this information is molecularly encoded, Kawaguchi et al. conducted genome-wide chromatin profiling of connective tissue derived from mature and regenerating axolotl limbs, revealing segment-specific histone modifications that serve as positional markers.

By contrast, the active chromatin mark H3K4me3 was often abundant at the same genes across all segments in mature limbs, corresponding with detectable transcription in segments where H3K27me3 was low. This suggests that genes active during embryonic limb patterning retain a chromatin profile that poises them for rapid transcription induction upon amputation.