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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Feb;6(2):139-49.

Histone variants meet their match.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Division of Nucleic Acids Enzymology, Department of Biochemistry, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


A fascinating aspect of how chromatin structure impacts on gene expression and cellular identity is the transmission of information from mother to daughter cells, independently of the primary DNA sequence. This epigenetic information seems to be contained within the covalent modifications of histone polypeptides and the distinctive characteristics of variant histone subspecies. There are specific deposition pathways for some histone variants, which provide invaluable mechanistic insights into processes whereby the major histones are exchanged for their more specialized counterparts.

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