The variant histone H2A.V of Drosophila—three roles, two guises

Abstract

Histone variants play important roles in eukaryotic genome organization, the control of gene expression, cell division and DNA repair. Unlike other organisms that employ several H2A variants for different functions, the parsimonious fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster gets along with just a single H2A variant, H2A.V. Remarkably, H2A.V unites within one molecule features and functions of two different mammalian H2A variants, H2A.Z and H2A.X. Accordingly, H2A.V is involved in diverse functions, as an element of a class of active promoter structure, as a foundation for heterochromatin assembly and as a DNA damage sensor. Here, we comprehensively review the current knowledge of this fascinating histone variant.

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Acknowledgements

Work in the authors' lab on nucleosome remodelling is supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft through Special Priority Programme 1356. S. Baldi acknowledges support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF). We thank S. Henikoff for helpful comments on the evolution of H2A.V.

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Correspondence to Peter B. Becker.

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Baldi, S., Becker, P.B. The variant histone H2A.V of Drosophila—three roles, two guises. Chromosoma 122, 245–258 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00412-013-0409-x

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Keywords

  • Chromatin
  • DNA damage response
  • H2A.X
  • Nucleosome remodelling
  • Transcription