Yeast histone H2A and H2B amino termini have interchangeable functions

Cell. 1986 May 9;45(3):445-51. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(86)90330-2.


The N-terminal ends of histones H2B and H2A have very different sequences and rates of evolution. However, they both extend from the nucleosome core and are positively charged. Short sequences at the C termini of both proteins also differ from each other and appear to be hydrophilic. Deletions at the N and C termini of yeast histones H2B2 and H2A1 do not obviously affect the cell's viability under normal growth conditions. However, deletions at the N termini of both H2B and H2A in the same cell are lethal or result in greatly reduced viability. Even switching portions of the N termini between H2B and H2A to create two chimeric histone proteins within the same cell has no obvious effect on viability. This supports the argument that the N-terminal end of one protein complements the function of the other.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chromosome Deletion
  • Histones / genetics
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Nucleosomes / ultrastructure
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Solubility
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes