Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 507–515 | Cite as

Chromosomal proteins of Arabidopsis thaliana

  • Charles P. Moehs
  • Elizabeth F. McElwain
  • Steven Spiker


In plants with large genomes, each of the classes of the histones (H1, H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) are not unique polypeptides, but rather families of closely related proteins that are called histone variants. The small genome and preponderance of single-copy DNA in Arabidopsis thaliana has led us to ask if this plant has such families of histone variants. We have thus isolated histones from Arabidopsis and analyzed them on four polyacrylamide gel electrophoretic systems: an SDS system; an acetic acid-urea system; a Triton transverse gradient system; and a two-dimensional system combining SDS and Triton-acetic acid-urea systems. This approach has allowed us to identify all four of the nucleosomal core histones in Arabidopsis and to establish the existence of a set of H2A and H2B variants. Arabidopsis has at least four H2A variants and three H2B variants of distinct molecular weights as assessed by electrophoretic mobility on SDS-polyacrylamide gels. Thus, Arabidopsis displays a diversity in these histones similar to the diversity displayed by plants with larger genomes such as wheat.

The high mobility group (HMG) non-histone chromatin proteins have attracted considerable attention because of the evidence implicating them as structural proteins of transcriptionally active chromatin. We have isolated a group of non-histone chromatin proteins from Arabidopsis that meet the operational criteria to be classed as HMG proteins and that cross-react with antisera to HMG proteins of wheat.

Key words

Arabidopsis thaliana histone variants high mobility group proteins 



high mobility group


sodium dodecyl sulfate


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles P. Moehs
    • 1
  • Elizabeth F. McElwain
    • 1
  • Steven Spiker
    • 1
  1. 1.Genetics DepartmentNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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