[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have characterized the mechanism by which coactivator p300 facilitates transcriptional activation mediated by the heterodimer of thyroid hormone (T3) receptor and 9-cis retinoid acid receptor (TR-RXR) in the context of chromatin. We demonstrate that, while p300 can enhance the transcriptional activation mediated by both liganded TR-RXR and GAL4-VP16, its histone acetyltransferase activity (HAT) is required for its ability to facilitate liganded TR-RXR- but not GAL4-VP16-mediated transcriptional activation. To understand how p300 is recruited by liganded TR-RXR, we have analyzed the interactions between TR-RXR and p300 as well as SRC-1 family coactivators. We show that, in contrast to a strong hormone-dependent interaction between TR-RXR and SRC-1 family coactivators, p300 displays minimal, if any, T3-dependent interaction with TR-RXR. However, p300 can be recruited by liganded TR-RXR through its interaction with SRC-1 family coactivators. Consistent with the protein-protein interaction profile described above, we demonstrate that the SRC-1 interaction domain of p300 is important for its ability to facilitate transcriptional activation mediated by TR-RXR, whereas its nuclear receptor interaction domain is dispensable. Collectively, these results reveal the functional significance of the HAT activity of p300 and define an indirect mode for the action of p300 in TR-RXR activation.