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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1998 Oct 27;95(22):12924-9.

Purified histone acetyltransferase complexes stimulate HIV-1 transcription from preassembled nucleosomal arrays.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


Protein acetylation has been implicated in the regulation of HIV-1 gene transcription. Here, we have exploited the activities of four native histone acetyltransferase (HAT) complexes from yeast to directly test whether acetylation regulates HIV-1 transcription in vitro. HAT activities acetylating either histone H3 (SAGA, Ada, and NuA3) or H4 (NuA4) stimulate HIV-1 transcription from preassembled nucleosomal templates in an acetyl CoA-dependent manner. HIV-1 transcription from histone-free DNA is not affected by the HATs, indicating that these activities function in a chromatin-specific fashion. For Ada and NuA4, we demonstrate that acetylation of only histone proteins mediates enhanced transcription, suggesting that these complexes facilitate transcription at least in part by modifying histones. To address a potential mechanism by which HAT complexes stimulate transcription, we performed a restriction enzyme accessibility analysis. Each of the HATs increases the cutting efficiencies of restriction endonucleases targeting the HIV-1 chromatin templates in a manner not requiring transcription, suggesting that histone acetylation leads to nucleosome remodeling.

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