Histones are the basic protein components of nucleosomes. They are among the most conserved proteins and are subject to a plethora of post-translational modifications. Specific histone residues are important in establishing chromatin structure, regulating gene expression and silencing, and responding to DNA damage. Here we present HistoneHits, a database of phenotypes for systematic collections of histone mutants. This database combines assay results (phenotypes) with information about sequences, structures, post-translational modifications, and evolutionary conservation. The web interface presents the information through dynamic tables and figures. It calculates the availability of data for specific mutants and for nucleosome surfaces. The database currently includes 42 assays on 677 mutants multiply covering 405 of the 498 residues across yeast histones H3, H4, H2A, and H2B. We also provide an interface with an extensible controlled vocabulary for research groups to submit new data. Preliminary analyses confirm that mutations at highly conserved residues and modifiable residues are more likely to generate phenotypes. Buried residues and residues on the lateral surface tend to generate more phenotypes, while tail residues generate significantly fewer phenotypes than other residues. Yeast mutants are cross referenced with known human histone variants, identifying a position where a yeast mutant causes loss of ribosomal silencing and a human variant increases breast cancer susceptibility. All data sets are freely available for download.
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