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Transcription-linked acetylation by Gcn5p of histones H3 and H4 at specific lysines


THE yeast transcriptional adaptor1–3, Gcn5p, is a catalytic subunit of a nuclear (type A) histone acetyltransferase linking histone acetylation to gene activation4–6. Here we report that Gcn5p acetylates histones H3 and H4 non-randomly at specific lysines in the amino-terminal domains. Lysine 14 of H3 and lysines 8 and 16 of H4 are highly preferred acetylation sites for Gcn5p. We also demonstrate that lysine 9 is the preferred position of acetylation in newly synthesized yeast H3 in vivo. This finding, along with the fact that lysines 5 and 12 in H4 are predominant acetylation sites during chromatin assembly of many organisms7–11, indicates that Gcn5p acetylates a distinct set of lysines that do not overlap with those sites characteristically used by type B histone acetyltransferase s for histone deposition and chromatin assembly.

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Kuo, MH., Brownell, J., Sobel, R. et al. Transcription-linked acetylation by Gcn5p of histones H3 and H4 at specific lysines. Nature 383, 269–272 (1996).

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