Eight new types of histone short-chain Lys acylations have been discovered in the past few years, which include Lys propionylation (Kpr), Lys butyrylation (Kbu), Lys 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation (Khib), Lys succinylation (Ksucc), Lys malonylation (Kma), Lys glutarylation (Kglu), Lys crotonylation (Kcr) and Lys β-hydroxybutyrylation (Kbhb).
Histone Lys acylations are regulated by acyltransferases and deacylases.
Histone Lys acylations are modulated by the cellular metabolism of cognate short-chain acyl-CoA species.
The novel histone Lys acylations are recognized by specific protein domains and can be differentiated from Lys acetylation.
Histone Lys acylations mark transcriptionally active genes and function in different physiological processes, such as signal-dependent gene activation, spermatogenesis, tissue injury and metabolic stress.
Eight types of short-chain Lys acylations have recently been identified on histones: propionylation, butyrylation, 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation, succinylation, malonylation, glutarylation, crotonylation and β-hydroxybutyrylation. Emerging evidence suggests that these histone modifications affect gene expression and are structurally and functionally different from the widely studied histone Lys acetylation. In this Review, we discuss the regulation of non-acetyl histone acylation by enzymatic and metabolic mechanisms, the acylation 'reader' proteins that mediate the effects of different acylations and their physiological functions, which include signal-dependent gene activation, spermatogenesis, tissue injury and metabolic stress. We propose a model to explain our present understanding of how differential histone acylation is regulated by the metabolism of the different acyl-CoA forms, which in turn modulates the regulation of gene expression.
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The authors thank H. Huang, S. Khochbin and members of the Allis laboratory for comments and scientific input. This work was funded by support from The Rockefeller University and from the US National Cancer Institute (CA204639 to C.D.A.), the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) (GM105933, DK107868 and GM115961 to Y.Z.) and the US National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (DGE-1325261 to B.R.S).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
- Short-chain Lys acylations
The addition of a short-chain acyl group (less than six carbon atoms) other than a formyl or acetyl group to the ε-amine of a Lys residue.
- Lys acetylation
(Kac). The addition of an acetyl group to the ε-amine of a Lys residue.
The amino group on the side chain of Lys, where most post-translational modifications occur.
- Mass-tolerant database search
An algorithm that allows an unbiased way to search unexplained mass spectrometry data and detect a mass shift at a specific amino acid.
- van der Waals interactions
Refers to the attraction between molecules that is not generated from covalent bonds or ionic interactions.
- C–C π-bond
A covalent chemical bond that is formed when two atomic orbitals overlap side-to-side along a plane perpendicular to a line that connects the nuclei of the atoms.
- Zn2+-dependent histone deacetylases
(Zn2+-dependent HDACs). Classes I, II and IV HDACs that require zinc ions to remove acetyl groups from the ε-amine of Lys residues on histones.
- Long-chain acylations
Here refers to Lys acylations with longer hydrocarbon chains such as Lys myristoylation and palmitoylation.
A protein module of ∼ 110 amino acids that mediates interaction with acetylated Lys and is often found in acetyltransferases and ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling factors.
- Isothermal titration calorimetry
A technique to analyse intermolecular interactions by directly measuring the heat generated or absorbed when molecules interact.
- Cell-free transcription assays
An in vitro system for RNA synthesis that comprises a reconstituted chromatin template and recombinant transcription factors and cofactors incubated with nuclear extracts.
- Histone-to-protamine transition
The process during spermatogenesis in which histones are gradually replaced by Arg-rich protamine, which allows the chromatin in sperm to be tightly packaged.
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Sabari, B., Zhang, D., Allis, C. et al. Metabolic regulation of gene expression through histone acylations. Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 18, 90–101 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/nrm.2016.140
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