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Mol Cell. 2008 Jan 18;29(1):92-101. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2007.12.011.

A TFTC/STAGA module mediates histone H2A and H2B deubiquitination, coactivates nuclear receptors, and counteracts heterochromatin silencing.

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Laboratory of Nuclear Signaling, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences, The University of Tokyo, Yayoi 1-1-1, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0032, Japan.


Transcriptional activators, several different coactivators, and general transcription factors are necessary to access specific loci in the dense chromatin structure to allow precise initiation of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription. Histone acetyltransferase (HAT) complexes were implicated in loosening the chromatin around promoters and thus in gene activation. Here we demonstrate that the 2 MDa GCN5 HAT-containing metazoan TFTC/STAGA complexes contain a histone H2A and H2B deubiquitinase activity. We have identified three additional subunits of TFTC/STAGA (ATXN7L3, USP22, and ENY2) that form the deubiquitination module. Importantly, we found that this module is an enhancer of position effect variegation in Drosophila. Furthermore, we demonstrate that ATXN7L3, USP22, and ENY2 are required as cofactors for the full transcriptional activity by nuclear receptors. Thus, the deubiquitinase activity of the TFTC/STAGA HAT complex is necessary to counteract heterochromatin silencing and acts as a positive cofactor for activation by nuclear receptors in vivo.

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