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J Biol Chem. 2008 Mar 28;283(13):8080-8. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709782200. Epub 2008 Jan 24.

Chromosomal protein HMGN1 enhances the heat shock-induced remodeling of Hsp70 chromatin.

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  • 1Protein Section, Laboratory of Metabolism, NCI, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The nucleosome-binding protein HMGN1 affects the structure and function of chromatin; however, its role in regulating specific gene expression in living cells is not fully understood. Here we use embryonic fibroblasts from Hmgn1(+/+) and Hmgn1(-/-) mice to examine the effect of HMGN1 on the heat shock-induced transcriptional activation of Hsp70, a well characterized gene known to undergo a rapid chromatin re-structuring during transcriptional activation. We find that loss of HMGN1 decreases the levels of Hsp70 transcripts at the early stages of heat shock. HMGN1 enhances the rate of heat shockinduced changes in the Hsp70 chromatin but does not affect the chromatin structure before induction, an indication that it does not predispose the gene to rapid activation. Heat shock elevates the levels of H3K14 acetylation in the Hsp70 chromatin of wild type cells more efficiently than in the chromatin of Hmgn1(-/-) cells, whereas treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitors abrogates the effects of HMGN1 on the heat shock response. We suggest that HMGN1 enhances the rate of heat shock-induced H3K14 acetylation in the Hsp70 promoter, thereby enhancing the rate of chromatin remodeling and the subsequent transcription during the early rounds of Hsp70 activation when the gene is still associated with histones in a nucleosomal conformation.

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