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Mol Cell. 2000 Apr;5(4):745-51.

Acetylation regulates transcription factor activity at multiple levels.

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Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas, Herakleion Crete, Greece.


CREB-binding protein (CBP) possesses an intrinsic acetyltransferase activity capable of acetylating nucleosomal histones as well as several nonhistone proteins. Here, it is shown that CBP can acetylate hepatocyte nuclear factor-4 (HNF-4), a member of the nuclear hormone receptor family, at lysine residues within the nuclear localization sequence. CBP-mediated acetylation is crucial for the proper nuclear retention of HNF-4, which is otherwise transported out to the cytoplasm via the CRM1 pathway. Acetylation also increases HNF-4 DNA binding activity and its affinity of interaction with CBP itself and is required for target gene activation. The results show that acetylation is a key posttranslational modification that may affect several properties of a transcription factor critical for the execution of its biological functions.

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