Diversity and divergence of dinoflagellate histone proteins

Georgi K. Marinov, Michael Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Histone proteins and the nucleosomal organization of chromatin are near-universal eukaroytic features, with the exception of dinoflagellates. Previous studies have suggested that histones do not play a major role in the packaging of dinoflagellate genomes, although several genomic and transcriptomic surveys have detected a full set of core histone genes. Here, transcriptomic and genomic sequence data from multiple dinoflagellate lineages are analyzed, and the diversity of histone proteins and their variants characterized, with particular focus on their potential post-translational modifications and the conservation of the histone code. In addition, the set of putative epigenetic mark readers and writers, chromatin remodelers and histone chaperones are examined. Dinoflagellates clearly express the most derived set of histones among all autonomous eukaryote nuclei, consistent with a combination of relaxation of sequence constraints imposed by the histone code and the presence of numerous specialized histone variants. The histone code itself appears to have diverged significantly in some of its components, yet others are conserved, implying conservation of the associated biochemical processes. Specifically, and with major implications for the function of histones in dinoflagellates, the results presented here strongly suggest that transcription through nucleosomal arrays happens in dinoflagellates. Finally, the plausible roles of histones in dinoflagellate nuclei are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-422
Number of pages26
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Chromatin
  • Dinoflagellates
  • Histone code
  • Histones
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Diversity and divergence of dinoflagellate histone proteins'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this