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Cell. 1993 Jan 15;72(1):73-84.

A positive role for histone acetylation in transcription factor access to nucleosomal DNA.

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Laboratory of Molecular Embryology, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Acetylation of the N-terminal tails of the core histones directly facilitates the recognition by TFIIIA of the 5S RNA gene within model chromatin templates. This effect is independent of a reduction in the extent of histone-DNA interactions or a change in DNA helical repeat; it is also independent of whether a histone tetramer or octamer inhibits TFIIIA binding. Removal of the N-terminal tails from the core histones also facilitates the association of TFIIIA with nucleosomal templates. We suggest that the histone tails have a major role in restricting transcription factor access to DNA and that their acetylation releases this restriction by directing dissociation of the tails from DNA and/or inducing a change in DNA configuration on the histone core to allow transcription factor binding. Acetylation of core histones might be expected to exert a major influence on the accessibility of chromatin to regulatory molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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