We analyzed modification of chromatin by ubiquitination in human cells and whether this mark changes through the cell cycle. HeLa cells were synchronized at different stages and regions of the genome with ubiquitinated chromatin were identified by affinity purification coupled with next-generation sequencing. During interphase, ubiquitin marked the chromatin on the transcribed regions of ∼70′ of highly active genes and deposition of this mark was sensitive to transcriptional inhibition. Promoters of nearly half of the active genes were highly ubiquitinated specifically during mitosis. The ubiquitination at the coding regions in interphase but not at promoters during mitosis was enriched for ubH2B and dependent on the presence of RNF20. Ubiquitin labeling of both promoters during mitosis and transcribed regions during interphase, correlated with active histone marks H3K4me3 and H3K36me3 but not a repressive histone modification, H3K27me3. The high level of ubiquitination at the promoter chromatin during mitosis was transient and was removed within 2 h after the cells exited mitosis and entered the next cell cycle. These results reveal that the ubiquitination of promoter chromatin during mitosis is a bookmark identifying active genes during chromosomal condensation in mitosis, and we suggest that this process facilitates transcriptional reactivation post-mitosis.
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