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Genes Dev. 2005 Dec 1;19(23):2912-24.

NIR is a novel INHAT repressor that modulates the transcriptional activity of p53.

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Frauenklinik der Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Zentrale Klinische Forschung, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.


Most transcriptional repression pathways depend on the targeted deacetylation of histone tails. In this report, we characterize NIR, a novel transcriptional corepressor with inhibitor of histone acetyltransferase (INHAT) activity. NIR (Novel INHAT Repressor) is ubiquitously expressed throughout embryonic development and adulthood. NIR is a potent transcriptional corepressor that is not blocked by histone deacetylase inhibitors and is capable of silencing both basal and activator-driven transcription. NIR directly binds to nucleosomes and core histones and prevents acetylation by histone acetyltransferases, thus acting as a bona fide INHAT. Using a tandem affinity purification approach, we identified the tumor suppressor p53 as a NIR-interacting partner. Association of p53 and NIR was verified in vitro and in vivo. Upon recruitment by p53, NIR represses transcription of both p53-dependent reporters and endogenous target genes. Knock-down of NIR by RNA interference significantly enhances histone acetylation at p53-regulated promoters. Moreover, p53-dependent apoptosis is robustly increased upon depletion of NIR. In summary, our findings describe NIR as a novel INHAT that plays an important role in the control of p53 function.

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