Histone variants

Histone variants are non-canonical (non-allelic) variants of histones – representing one or a few amino acid differences – that are expressed at very low levels compared with their conventional counterparts. Histone variants have specific expression, localization and species-distribution patterns, and confer novel structural and functional properties on the nucleosome, affecting chromatin remodelling and histone post-translational modifications.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research | | open

    CENP-A histone variants replace histones H3 at centromeres. Here the authors use a single-chain antibody fragment (scFv) to stabilize human CENP-A nucleosome containing a native α-satellite DNA and solved its structure by cryo-EM to 2.6 Å resolution, providing insight into the structure and function of the CENP-A nucleosome.

    • Bing-Rui Zhou
    • , K. N. Sathish Yadav
    • , Mario Borgnia
    • , Jingjun Hong
    • , Baohua Cao
    • , Ada L. Olins
    • , Donald E. Olins
    • , Yawen Bai
    •  & Ping Zhang
  • Reviews |

    Eukaryotes differ substantially from bacteria and archaea owing to their nucleosome-based packaging of DNA. In this Review, Talbert, Meers and Henikoff place gene regulation in an evolutionary context by discussing how the emergence and diversification of eukaryotic chromatin provided both challenges and opportunities for intricate mechanisms of gene regulation in eukaryotes.

    • Paul B. Talbert
    • , Michael P. Meers
    •  & Steven Henikoff
  • Research | | open

    Lgr5+ stem cells in intestinal crypts are critical for gut epithelium homeostasis. Here, the authors show that Znht1 critically regulates intestinal homeostasis by promoting interaction between histone variant H2A.Z and its chaperone YL1 to incorporate H2A.Z into genes involved in intestinal stem cell fate.

    • Bing Zhao
    • , Ying Chen
    • , Ning Jiang
    • , Li Yang
    • , Shenfei Sun
    • , Yan Zhang
    • , Zengqi Wen
    • , Lorraine Ray
    • , Han Liu
    • , Guoli Hou
    •  & Xinhua Lin
  • Research | | open

    Kinetochore function depends on H4K20 monomethylation in centromeric nucleosomes but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Here, the authors provide evidence that the centromere-specific nucleosome subunit CENP-A facilitates H4K20 methylation by enabling a conformational change of the H4 N-terminal tail.

    • Yasuhiro Arimura
    • , Hiroaki Tachiwana
    • , Hiroki Takagi
    • , Tetsuya Hori
    • , Hiroshi Kimura
    • , Tatsuo Fukagawa
    •  & Hitoshi Kurumizaka
  • Research | | open

    The histone variant macroH2A1 localizes to two functionally distinct chromatin subtypes marked by either H3K27me3 or H2B acetylations. Here the authors identify the features of macroH2A1 required for its recruitment to H2B-acetylated chromatin and identify H2BK20 acetylation as a critical requirement for this recruitment.

    • Penelope D. Ruiz
    •  & Matthew J. Gamble
  • Research | | open

    Long-read sequencing allows the assembly of antigen-gene arrays in Trypanosoma brucei and, coupled with deletion experiments, demonstrates that histone variants act as a molecular link between genome architecture, chromatin conformation and antigen variation.

    • Laura S. M. Müller
    • , Raúl O. Cosentino
    • , Konrad U. Förstner
    • , Julien Guizetti
    • , Carolin Wedel
    • , Noam Kaplan
    • , Christian J. Janzen
    • , Panagiota Arampatzi
    • , Jörg Vogel
    • , Sascha Steinbiss
    • , Thomas D. Otto
    • , Antoine-Emmanuel Saliba
    • , Robert P. Sebra
    •  & T. Nicolai Siegel
    Nature 563, 121-125

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