Plasmodium spp. and Toxoplasma gondii present a conserved nucleosome composition based on canonical H3 and variants, H4, canonical H2A and variants, and H2B. One-off, the phylum has also a variant H2B, named H2B.Z, which was shown to form a double variant nucleosome H2A.Z/H2B.Z. These histones also present conserved and unique post-translational modifications (PTMs). Histone variants have shown particular genomic localization and PTMs along euchromatin and heterochromatin, including telomere-associated sequences (TAS), suggesting fine-grained chromatin structure modulation. Several other nonhistone proteins present remarkable participation in controlling chromatin state, especially at TAS. Based on that, we discuss the role of epigenetics (PTMs and histone variants) in Plasmodium and Toxoplasma gene expression, replication, and DNA repair. We also discuss TAS structures and chromatin composition and its impact on antigenic variant expression in Plasmodium.
Part of the book: Chromatin and Epigenetics