Variation is important: Warranting chromatin function and dynamics by histone variants

Curr Opin Plant Biol. 2023 Oct;75:102408. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2023.102408. Epub 2023 Jul 1.


The chromatin of flowering plants exhibits a wide range of sequence variants of the core and linker histones. Recent studies have demonstrated that specific histone variant enrichment, combined with post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones, defines distinct chromatin states that impact specific chromatin functions. Chromatin remodelers are emerging as key regulators of histone variant dynamics, contributing to shaping chromatin states and regulating gene transcription in response to environment. Recognizing the histone variants by their specific readers, controlled by histone PTMs, is crucial for maintaining genome and chromatin integrity. In addition, various histone variants have been shown to play essential roles in remodeling chromatin domains to facilitate important programmed transitions throughout the plant life cycle. In this review, we discuss recent findings in this exciting field of research, which holds immense promise for many surprising discoveries related to the evolution of complexity in plant organization through a seemingly simple protein family.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; Chromatin; Histone modification; Histone variant; Plant; Transcription.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin* / genetics
  • Histones* / genetics
  • Histones* / metabolism
  • Plants / metabolism
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Chromatin
  • Histones