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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Oct 10;97(21):11303-6.

Distinct but overlapping roles of histone acetylase PCAF and of the closely related PCAF-B/GCN5 in mouse embryogenesis.

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  • 1Laboratories of Molecular Growth Regulation and Integrative and Medical Biophysics, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


PCAF plays a role in transcriptional activation, cell-cycle arrest, and cell differentiation in cultured cells. PCAF contributes to transcriptional activation by acetylating chromatin and transcription factors through its intrinsic histone acetylase activity. In this report, we present evidence for the in vivo function of PCAF and the closely related PCAF-B/GCN5. Mice lacking PCAF are developmentally normal without a distinct phenotype. In PCAF null-zygous mice, protein levels of PCAF-B/GCN5 are drastically elevated in lung and liver, where PCAF is abundantly expressed in wild-type mice, suggesting that PCAF-B/GCN5 functionally compensates for PCAF. In contrast, animals lacking PCAF-B/GCN5 die between days 9.5 and 11.5 of gestation. Normally, PCAF-B/GCN5 mRNA is expressed at high levels already by day 8, whereas PCAF mRNA is first detected on day 12.5, which may explain, in part, the distinct knockout phenotypes. These results provide evidence that PCAF and PCAF-B/GCN5 play distinct but functionally overlapping roles in embryogenesis.

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