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Gene. 1999 Aug 20;236(2):197-208.

Unlocking the mechanisms of transcription factor YY1: are chromatin modifying enzymes the key?

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  • 1Molecular Oncology Program, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL 33612, USA.


The transcription factor YY1 is a complex protein that is involved in repressing and activating a diverse number of promoters. Numerous studies have attempted to understand how this one factor can act both as a repressor and an activator in such a wide set of different contexts. The fact that YY1 interacts with a number of key regulatory proteins (e.g. TBP, TFIIB, TAFII55, Sp1, and E1A) has suggested that these interactions are important for determining which particular function of YY1 is displayed at a specific promoter. Two groups of proteins, previously known to function as corepressors and coactivators, that now seem likely to modulate YY1's functions, are the histone deacetylases (HDAC) and histone acetyltransferases (HAT). These two groups of enzymes modify histones, and this modification is proposed to alter chromatin structure. Acetylated histones are typically localized to active chromatin while deacetylated histones colocalize with transcriptionally inactive chromatin. When these enzymes are directed to a promoter through a DNA binding factor such as YY1, that promoter can be activated or repressed. This review will discuss the recent work dealing with the different proteins that interact with YY1, with particular emphasis on ones that modify chromatin, and how they could be involved in regulating YY1's activities.

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