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Nat Genet. 2002 Nov;32(3):370-7. Epub 2002 Oct 15.

Chromosomal gradient of histone acetylation established by Sas2p and Sir2p functions as a shield against gene silencing.

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. Horikoshi Gene Selector Project, Exploratory Research for Advanced Technology, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, 5-9-6 Tokodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 300-2635, Japan.


Genes located in chromosomal regions near telomeres are transcriptionally silent, whereas those located in regions away from telomeres are not. Here we show that there is a gradient of acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4-Lys16) along a yeast chromosome; this gradient ranges from a hypoacetylated state in regions near the telomere to a hyperacetylated state in more distant regions. The hyperacetylation is regulated by Sas2p, a member of the MYST-type family of histone acetylases, whereas hypoacetylation is under the control of Sir2p, a histone deacetylase. Loss of hyperacetylation is accompanied by an increase in localization of the telomere protein Sir3p and the inactivation of gene expression in telomere-distal regions. Thus, the Sas2p and Sir2p function in concert to regulate transcription in yeast, by acetylating and deacetylating H4-Lys16 in a mechanism that may be common to all eukaryotes.

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