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Yeast Gcn5 functions in two multisubunit complexes to acetylate nucleosomal histones: characterization of an Ada complex and the SAGA (Spt/Ada) complex.

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and The Center for Gene Regulation, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park 16802-4500, USA.
Genes & Development (Impact Factor: 12.64). 08/1997; 11(13):1640-50. DOI: 10.1101/gad.11.13.1640
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The transcriptional adaptor protein Gcn5 has been identified as a nuclear histone acetyltransferase (HAT). Although recombinant yeast Gcn5 efficiently acetylates free histones, it fails to acetylate histones contained in nucleosomes, indicating that additional components are required for acetylation of chromosomal histones. We report here that Gcn5 functions as a catalytic subunit in two high-molecular-mass native HAT complexes, with apparent molecular masses of 0.8 and 1.8 megadalton (MD), respectively, which acetylate nucleosomal histones. Both the 0.8- and 1.8-MD Gcn5-containing complexes cofractionate with Ada2 and are lost in gcn5delta, ada2delta, or ada3delta yeast strains, illustrating that these HAT complexes are bona fide native Ada-transcriptional adaptor complexes. Importantly, the 1.8-MD adaptor/HAT complex also contains Spt gene products that are linked to TATA-binding protein (TBP) function. This complex is lost in spt20/ada5delta and spt7delta strains and Spt3, Spt7, Spt20/Ada5, Ada2, and Gcn5 all copurify with this nucleosomal HAT complex. Therefore, the 1.8-MD adaptor/HAT complex illustrates an interaction between Ada and Spt gene products and confirms the existence of a complex containing the TBP group of Spt proteins as demonstrated by genetic and biochemical studies. We have named this novel transcription regulatory complex SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5-Acetyltransferase). The function of Gcn5 as a histone acetyltransferase within the Ada and SAGA adaptor complexes indicates the importance of histone acetylation during steps in transcription activation mediated by interactions with transcription activators and general transcription factors (i.e., TBP).

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