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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Mar;1819(3-4):277-89. doi: 10.1016/j.bbagrm.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Oct 8.

Histone chaperones link histone nuclear import and chromatin assembly.

Abstract

Histone chaperones are proteins that shield histones from nonspecific interactions until they are assembled into chromatin. After their synthesis in the cytoplasm, histones are bound by different histone chaperones, subjected to a series of posttranslational modifications and imported into the nucleus. These evolutionarily conserved modifications, including acetylation and methylation, can occur in the cytoplasm, but their role in regulating import is not well understood. As part of histone import complexes, histone chaperones may serve to protect the histones during transport, or they may be using histones to promote their own nuclear localization. In addition, there is evidence that histone chaperones can play an active role in the import of histones. Histone chaperones have also been shown to regulate the localization of important chromatin modifying enzymes. This review is focused on the role histone chaperones play in the early biogenesis of histones, the distinct cytoplasmic subcomplexes in which histone chaperones have been found in both yeast and mammalian cells and the importins/karyopherins and nuclear localization signals that mediate the nuclear import of histones. We also address the role that histone chaperone localization plays in human disease. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Histone chaperones and chromatin assembly.

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