More Than Just Tails: Intrinsic Disorder in Histone Proteins

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Many biologically active proteins are disordered as a whole, or contain long disordered regions. These intrinsically disordered proteins/regions are very common in nature, abundantly found in all organisms, where they carry out important biological functions. The functions of these proteins complement the functional repertoire of "normal" ordered proteins, and many protein functional classes are heavily dependent on intrinsic disorder. Among these disorder-centric functions are interactions with nucleic acids and protein complex assembly. In this study, we present the results of comprehensive bioinformatics analyses of the abundance and roles of intrinsic disorder in 2007 histones from 746 species. We show that all the members of the histone family are intrinsically disordered proteins. Furthermore, intrinsic disorder is not only abundant in histones, but is absolutely necessary for various histone functions, starting from heterodimerization to formation of higher order oligomers, to interactions with DNA and other proteins, and to posttranslational modifications.

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Molecular BioSystems, v. 8, issue 7, p. 1886-1901