Histones are the main constituents of the protein part of chromosomes of eukaryotic cells. They are rich in the amino acids arginine and lysine and have been greatly conserved during evolution. Histones pack the DNA into tight masses of chromatin. Two core histones of each class H2A, H2B, H3 and H4 assemble and are wrapped by 146 base pairs of DNA to form one octameric nucleosome. Histone tails undergo numerous post-translational modifications, which either directly or indirectly alter chromatin structure to facilitate transcriptional activation or repression or other nuclear processes. The histone variant H2A.Z replaces conventional H2A in a subset of nucleosomes. H2A.Z is involved in transcriptional regulation, antisilencing, silencing, and genome stability. It functions as a key regulator of chromatin function and plays an essential role during mammalian development.