Two of the four electrophoretic histone H2B variants present in wheat embryos have been isolated. The complete primary structure of the H2B(2) variant has been deduced from sets of overlapping peptides generated by CNBr cleavage, Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease, endoproteinase Arg-C, the post-proline cleaving enzyme, chymotrypsin and cleavage in dilute acid. A minimum of 17 peptides were required to establish the sequence. This variant has a blocked N terminus and comprises a total of 149 amino acids. The C-terminal two-thirds of the protein are highly homologous to vertebrate H2B. In contrast, the N-terminal third is entirely different and contains an N-terminal extension of 23 residues in which the sequence Ala-Glu-Lys or variants are repeated several times. This region is also highly homologous to the H2B from Tetrahymena pyriformis. It shows in addition similarities to wheat H2A(1) and bovine H1.