Histone H2A variants H2AX and H2AZ

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2002 Apr;12(2):162-9. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(02)00282-4.


Two of the nucleosomal histone families, H3 and H2A, have highly conserved variants with specialized functions. Recent studies have begun to elucidate the roles of two of the H2A variants, H2AX and H2AZ. H2AX is phosphorylated on a serine four residues from the carboxyl terminus in response to the introduction of DNA double-strand breaks, whether these breaks are a result of environmental insult, metabolic mistake, or programmed process. H2AZ appears to alter nucleosome stability, is partially redundant with nucleosome remodeling complexes, and is involved in transcriptional control.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Chromatin / physiology
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Histones / physiology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleosomes / physiology
  • Phosphorylation*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes