New work shows that histones, long treated as boring spools for DNA, sit at the center of the origin story of eukaryotes and continue to play important roles in evolution and disease.
- Histones, as linchpins of the apparatus for gene regulation, play a role in almost every function of eukaryotic cells.
- Eukaryotes arose about 2 billion years ago through a partnership between two simple prokaryotes.
- By curving the DNA around the nucleosome, the histones prevent it from clumping together and keep it functional.
“New work on the structure and function of histones in ancient, simple cells has now made the longstanding, central importance of these proteins to gene regulation even clearer.”
A sentence early in the article: “… if the backbone of one interacts with the groove of another…” refers to the major groove. The major & minor grooves are formed by the antiparallel strands of the DNA double helix. You can see them in this stereo image pair of our Big Bang Theory DNA Model.