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Cell. 2005 May 20;121(4):515-527. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2005.03.035.

Assembly of the SIR complex and its regulation by O-acetyl-ADP-ribose, a product of NAD-dependent histone deacetylation.

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Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
Department of Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Electronic address:


Assembly of silent chromatin domains in budding yeast involves the deacetylation of histone tails by Sir2 and the association of the Sir3 and Sir4 proteins with hypoacetylated histone tails. Sir2 couples deacetylation to NAD hydrolysis and the synthesis of a metabolite, O-acetyl-ADP-ribose (AAR), but the functional significance of NAD hydrolysis or AAR, if any, is unknown. Here we examine the association of the Sir2, Sir3, and Sir4 proteins with each other and histone tails. Our analysis reveals that deacetylation of histone H4-lysine 16 (K16), which is critical for silencing in vivo, is also critical for the binding of Sir3 and Sir4 to histone H4 peptides in vitro. Moreover, AAR itself promotes the association of multiple copies of Sir3 with Sir2/Sir4 and induces a dramatic structural rearrangement in the SIR complex. These results suggest that Sir2 activity modulates the assembly of the SIR complex through both histone deacetylation and AAR synthesis.

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