Histones and their modifications

CRC Crit Rev Biochem. 1986;20(2):201-63. doi: 10.3109/10409238609083735.


Histones constitute the protein core around which DNA is coiled to form the basic structural unit of the chromosome known as the nucleosome. Because of the large amount of new histone needed during chromosome replication, the synthesis of histone and DNA is regulated in a complex manner. During RNA transcription and DNA replication, the basic nucleosomal structure as well as interactions between nucleosomes must be greatly altered to allow access to the appropriate enzymes and factors. The presence of extensive and varied post-translational modifications to the otherwise highly conserved histone primary sequences provides obvious opportunities for such structural alterations, but despite concentrated and sustained effort, causal connections between histone modifications and nucleosomal functions are not yet elucidated.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Genetic Variation
  • Histones* / genetics
  • Histones* / metabolism
  • Models, Biological
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Prokaryotic Cells / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Chromatin
  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • DNA