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J Mol Evol. 1996 Feb;42(2):234-9.

Parallel origins of the nucleosome core and eukaryotic transcription from Archaea.

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EMBL Heidelberg, Germany.


Computational sequence analysis of 10 available archaean histone-like proteins has shown that this family is not only divergently related to the eukaryotic core histones H2A/B, H3, and H4, but also to the central domain of subunits A and C of the CCAAT-binding factor (CBF), a transcription factor associated with eukaryotic promoters. Despite the low sequence identity, it is unambiguously shown that the core histone fold shares a common evolutionary history. Archaean histones and the two CBF families show a remarkable variability in contrast to eukaryotic core histones. Conserved residues shared between families are identified, possibly being responsible for the functional versatility of the core histone fold. The H4 subfamily is most similar to archaean proteins and may be the progenitor of the other core histones in eukaryotes. While it is not clear whether archaean histones are more actively involved in transcription regulation, the present observations link two processes, nucleosomal packing and transcription in a unique way. Both these processes, evidently hybrid in Archaea, have originated before the ermergence of the eukaryotic cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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