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J Biol Chem. 2001 Aug 31;276(35):32627-34. Epub 2001 Jun 19.

E2F transcriptional activation requires TRRAP and GCN5 cofactors.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, School of Medicine, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York 11794-5222, USA.


The E2F family of transcription factors regulates the temporal transcription of genes involved in cell cycle progression and DNA synthesis. E2F transactivation is antagonized by retinoblastoma protein (pRb), which recruits chromatin-remodeling proteins such as histone deacetylases and SWI.SNF complexes to the promoter to repress transcription. We hypothesized that E2F proteins must reverse the pRb-imposed chromatin structure to stimulate transcription. If this is true, E2F proteins should recruit proteins capable of histone acetylation. Here we map the E2F-4 transactivation domain and show that E2F-1 and E2F-4 transactivation domains bind the acetyltransferase GCN5 and cofactor TRRAP in vivo. TRRAP and GCN5 co-expression stimulated E2F-mediated transactivation, and c-Myc repressed E2F transactivation dependent on an intact TRRAP/GCN5 binding motif. The transactivation domain of E2F-4 recruited proteins with significant histone acetyltransferase activity in vivo, and this activity required catalytically active GCN5. E2F-4 proteins with subtle mutations in the transactivation domain exhibited a positive correlation among transcriptional activation and GCN5 and TRRAP binding capacity and associated acetyltransferase activity. We conclude that E2F stimulates transcription by recruiting acetyltransferase activity and the essential cofactors GCN5 and TRRAP. These results provide a mechanism for E2F transcription factors to overcome pRb-mediated dominant repression of transcription.

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