Trypanosomatid histones

Sam Alsford, David Horn (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The histones are responsible for packaging and regulating access to eukaryotic genomes. Trypanosomatids are flagellated protisfs that diverged early from the eukaryotic lineage and include parasites that cause disease in humans and other mammals. Here, we review the properties of histones in parasitic trypanosomatids, from gene organization and sequence to expression, post-translational modification and function within chromatin. Phylogenetic and experimental analysis indicates that certain specifically conserved histone sequence motifs, particularly within the N-terminal 'tail' domains, possibly represent functionally important modification substrates conserved throughout the eukaryotic lineage. For example, histone H3 contains a highly conserved methylation substrate. Trypanosomatids also possess at least three variant histones. Among these is an orthologue of H2A.Z, a histone involved in protecting 'active' chromatin from silencing in yeast. Histones provide docking platforms for a variety of regulatory factors. The presence of histone modification and variant histones in trypanosomatids therefore represents evidence for a network that provides the discrimination required to regulate transcription, recombination, repair and chromosome replication and segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-372
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology


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