Histone chaperones include a wide variety of proteins which associate with histones and regulate chromatin structure. The classic H2A–H2B type of histone chaperones, and the chromatin remodeling complex components possessing H2A–H2B chaperone activity, show a broad range of structures and functions. Rapid progress in the structural and functional study of H2A–H2B chaperones extends our knowledge about the epigenetic regulation of chromatin. In this review, we summarize the most recent advances in the understanding of the structure and function of H2A–H2B chaperones that interact with either canonical or variant H2A–H2B dimers. We discuss the current knowledge of the H2A–H2B chaperones, which present no preference for canonical and variant H2A–H2B dimers, describing how they interact with H2A–H2B to fulfill their functions. We also review recent advances of H2A variant-specific chaperones, demarcating how they achieve specific recognition for histone variant H2A.Z and how these interactions regulate chromatin structure by nucleosome editing. We highlight the universal mechanism underlying H2A–H2B dimers recognition by a large variety of histone chaperones. These findings will shed insight into the biological impacts of histone chaperone, chromatin remodeling complex, and histone variants in chromatin regulation.

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