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ACS Chem Biol. 2013;8(6):1311-23. doi: 10.1021/cb4000597. Epub 2013 May 9.

Probing p300/CBP associated factor (PCAF)-dependent pathways with a small molecule inhibitor.

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  • 1Transcription and Disease Laboratory, Molecular Biology and Genetics Unit, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research , Bangalore, India 560064.


PCAF (KAT2B) belongs to the GNAT family of lysine acetyltransferases (KAT) and specifically acetylates the histone H3K9 residue and several nonhistone proteins. PCAF is also a transcriptional coactivator. Due to the lack of a PCAF KAT-specific small molecule inhibitor, the exclusive role of the acetyltransferase activity of PCAF is not well understood. Here, we report that a natural compound of the hydroxybenzoquinone class, embelin, specifically inhibits H3Lys9 acetylation in mice and inhibits recombinant PCAF-mediated acetylation with near complete specificity in vitro. Furthermore, using embelin, we have identified the gene networks that are regulated by PCAF during muscle differentiation, further highlighting the broader regulatory functions of PCAF in muscle differentiation in addition to the regulation via MyoD acetylation.

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