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Genes Dev. 2001 Aug 15;15(16):2069-82.

Binding of c-Myc to chromatin mediates mitogen-induced acetylation of histone H4 and gene activation.

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Department of Oncology, DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


The Myc protein binds DNA and activates transcription by mechanisms that are still unclear. We used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) to evaluate Myc-dependent changes in histone acetylation at seven target loci. Upon serum stimulation of Rat1 fibroblasts, Myc associated with chromatin, histone H4 became locally hyperacetylated, and gene expression was induced. These responses were lost or severely impaired in Myc-deficient cells, but were restored by adenoviral delivery of Myc simultaneous with mitogenic stimulation. When targeted to chromatin in the absence of mitogens, Myc directly induced H4 acetylation. In addition, Myc recruited TRRAP to chromatin, consistent with a role for this cofactor in histone acetylation. Finally, unlike serum, Myc alone was very inefficient in inducing expression of most target genes. Myc therefore governs a step, most likely H4 acetylation, that is required but not sufficient for transcriptional activation. We propose that Myc acts as a permissive factor, allowing additional signals to activate target promoters.

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