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Oncogene. 2007 Aug 13;26(37):5505-20.

NAD+-dependent deacetylation of H4 lysine 16 by class III HDACs.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, NYU School of Medicine-Smilow Research Center, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Histone deacetylases (HDACs) catalyse the removal of acetyl groups from the N-terminal tails of histones. All known HDACs can be categorized into one of four classes (I-IV). The class III HDAC or silencing information regulator 2 (Sir2) family exhibits characteristics consistent with a distinctive role in regulation of chromatin structure. Accumulating data suggest that these deacetylases acquired new roles as genomic complexity increased, including deacetylation of non-histone proteins and functional diversification in mammals. However, the intrinsic regulation of chromatin structure in species as diverse as yeast and humans, underscores the pressure to conserve core functions of class III HDACs, which are also known as Sirtuins. One of the key factors that might have contributed to this preservation is the intimate relationship between some members of this group of proteins (SirT1, SirT2 and SirT3) and deacetylation of a specific residue in histone H4, lysine 16 (H4K16). Evidence accumulated over the years has uncovered a unique role for H4K16 in chromatin structure throughout eukaryotes. Here, we review the recent findings about the functional relationship between H4K16 and the Sir2 class of deacetylases and how that relationship might impact aging and diseases including cancer and diabetes.

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