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EMBO Rep. 2009 Aug;10(8):843-50. doi: 10.1038/embor.2009.168. Epub 2009 Jul 17.

Insights into SAGA function during gene expression.

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  • 1Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe (CIPF), Valencia, Spain.


Histone modifications are a crucial source of epigenetic control. SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5 acetyltransferase) is a chromatin-modifying complex that contains two distinct enzymatic activities, Gcn5 and Ubp8, through which it acetylates and deubiquitinates histone residues, respectively, thereby enforcing a pattern of modifications that is decisive in regulating gene expression. Here, I discuss the latest contributions to understanding the roles of the SAGA complex, highlighting the characterization of the SAGA-deubiquitination module, and emphasizing the functions newly ascribed to SAGA during transcription elongation and messenger-RNA export. These findings suggest that a crosstalk exists between chromatin remodelling, transcription and messenger-RNA export, which could constitute a checkpoint for accurate gene expression. I focus particularly on the new components of human SAGA, which was recently discovered and confirms the conservation of the SAGA complex throughout evolution.

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