Histones and histone genes in higher plants: structure and genomic organization.
The primary structure of the plant histone genes has been deduced from the comparison of the nucleotide sequences of 23 genes and 14 cDNAs from eight different species. These data confirmed the extreme conservation of histones H3 and H4 in plant and animal kingdoms. Histone H2B is more variable than H2A and the histone H1 is the less conserved histone. Some interesting observations concerning the non-conserved regions of H2A and H2B in their extended C- and N-terminal regions are reported. Only three plant histone genes were found to possess intervening sequences: one H1 gene and two H3.3 like genes. The most striking differences found between the two kingdoms are the absence from plant histone genes of the palindromic structure existing downstream of the animal genes and the fact that plant histone mRNAs are polyadenylated. This suggests that the post-transcriptional regulation of expression of histone genes is different in the two kingdoms. In plants the multiple copies of the histone genes are organized into multigenic families. In the complex genome of maize the multiple copies of the genes are highly dispersed on the genome.