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Difference Between Histone and Non-Histone Proteins

Histone and Non-Histone Protein: An Introduction

Last updated date: 28th Mar 2023
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Histones are extremely basic proteins that are located in the nuclei of eukaryotic cells and are rich in lysine and arginine residues.DNA is shielded from DNA damage and kept untangled by histones. Histones also contribute significantly to DNA replication and gene regulation. Unwound DNA in chromosomes would be incredibly lengthy without histones. For instance, each human cell has roughly 1.8 meters of DNA when fully extended, but this length is reduced to about 90 micrometers (0.09 mm) of chromatin fibers with a 30 nm diametre when twisted around histones.

Non-histone proteins are those proteins in chromatin that persist after the removal of the histones. The chromosome is organized and compacted into higher-order structures by a wide group of heterogeneous proteins known as non-histone proteins. They are essential for controlling procedures such as DNA replication, RNA synthesis and processing, nuclear transport, the action of steroid hormones, and the transition between interphase and mitosis.

What is Histone Protein?

Histones are proteins with an alkaline (basic pH). In eukaryotic cells, they are located in the nucleus. Histones are basic proteins that can bind with negatively charged DNA due to their positive charges. They serve the purpose of wrapping DNA into what are known as nucleosomes. In chromatin, histones dominate all other proteins. A cell’s nucleus is filled with chromatin, a mixture of DNA and protein. Histones also assist in the regulation of genes since DNA encircles them.

Histone Protein Types

There are five different types of histones: H1 (or H5), H2A, H2B, H3, and H4. H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 are the core histones, and H1 and H5 are the linker histones. Higher-order chromatin structures are influenced by H1 and the protein that is similar to it, H5. The nucleosomes are made up of the other four types of histones that join with DNA. About 220 residues make up H1 (or H5). Other histone types are more compact, with 100–150 residues per type.

Functions of Histone Protein

The main roles of histones are to compress DNA strands and influence chromatin control. The components of a cell nucleus, known as chromatin, are made up of DNA and proteins. The unwound DNA in chromosomes would be exceedingly lengthy without histones. Histones also play a significant part in the regulation of chromatin structure and gene expression because DNA wraps around them.

Non-Histone Protein

Nonhistones actually provide DNA with its scaffold structure in addition to carrying out a wide range of other structural and regulatory tasks that are essential for life. Nonhistone protein examples include scaffold proteins, Heterochromatin Protein 1, DNA polymerase, Polycomb, and other motor proteins, which are essential for cell organisation.

Only in the presence of nonhistone proteins do histone proteins accomplish their tasks. However, histone proteins are distinct from nonhistones in that they are extensively conserved across species, in contrast to nonhistones. The non-histone chromosomal proteins are in charge of assisting in the process of activating the histone gene transcription during the phase of the cell cycle when DNA replication is duplicated. The non-histone protein also has a role in the control of the expression of the histone genes.

Difference Between Histone and Non-Histone Proteins

A family of basic proteins known as histones are linked to DNA in the nucleus and help to condense it into chromatin. Nonhistone proteins are those that are still present after the removal of histones. In contrast to nonhistone proteins, which are involved in DNA-related processes, histone proteins aid in the packaging of DNA into nucleosomes.

Histone proteins exhibit high conservation, whereas non-histone proteins exhibit lower conservation across species. H1 (or H5), H2A, H2B, H3, and H4 are the five different forms of histone proteins, whereas scaffold proteins, heterochromatin protein 1, Polycomb, and DNA polymerase are nonhistone proteins.

The essential components of a nucleosome are histone proteins. In contrast, a nucleosome does not include nonhistone proteins. Histone proteins play a role in controlling gene expression. Nonhistone proteins play no role in controlling gene expression.

Interesting Facts

  • The variations in chromatin template activity between S-phase and mitosis are caused by non-histone chromosomal proteins.

  • The majority of nonhistone proteins are heterogeneous in molecular weight (10,000–68,000), acidic in amino acid content, and readily soluble at low ionic strength.

  • Histone-based chromatin is the norm in almost all eukaryotes; however, there are no histones in bacteria.

Important Questions

1. What is a minichromosome?

Ans: A minichromosome is a term for the viral DNA in virions and infected cells and is structured with cellular histones in conventional chromatin structures.

2. Why do prokaryotes not have histones?

Ans: Due to the lack of actual chromosomes in prokaryotes, histones are absent.

3. Are histones only in eukaryotes?

Ans: The nuclei of eukaryotic cells and the majority of Archaeal phyla include core histones, but bacteria do not.

Key Features

  • Arginine and lysine are two of the positively charged amino acid residues that make up the majority of histones. Through electrostatic interactions, the positive charges enable them to form intimate associations with the negatively charged DNA.

  • DNA would not have its compact double-helix form without histones and would be too lengthy to fit inside the chromosomes in the nucleus of a cell. This means that without histones, genetic material could not be transferred to other cells.

  • Lysine residues on histones are the site of histone acetylation, which boosts gene expression generally.

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FAQs on Difference Between Histone and Non-Histone Proteins

1. How many types of histone modifications are there?

There are at least nine different kinds of histone modifications known. The most well-known modifications include acetylation, methylation and phosphorylation.

2. Are histone modifications reversible?

Phosphorylation, acetylation, and ubiquitination are the three main cell cycle-dependent reversible modifications of histones.

3. Which Nonhistone protein helps maintain chromosome structure?

The assembly of nonhistone proteins and the structural integrity of vertebrate mitotic chromosomes depend on condensin.

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