Editors' ChoiceChromatin

Stimulating Phosphorylation and Acetylation

Science's STKE  27 Jun 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 38, pp. tw4
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.38.tw4

Chromatin structure plays an important role in regulating gene expression. Cheung et al. used an antibody specific for phosphorylated and acetylated histone 3 (P/A H3) to show that epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulated the formation of this modified histone. Kinetic analysis of the phosphorylation and formation of P/A H3 suggest that acetylation occurs after phosphorylation. In support of this order of events, the yeast histone acetylase, Gcn5, showed a higher affinity for mono-phosphorylated H3 peptides in vitro. Finally, the authors used the P/A H3-specific antibody in chromatin precipitation assays to show that treatment of cells with EGF resulted in about a twofold increase in the association of the P/A H3 with the c-fos promoter. Thus, phosphorylation of histones may play a key role in identifying promoters that should be activated in response to mitogenic signals.

Cheung, P., Tanner, K.G., Cheung, W.L., Sassone-Corsi, P., Denu, J.M., and Allis, C.D. (2000) Synergistic coupling of histone H3 phosphorylation and acetylation in response to epidermal growth factor stimulation. Mol. Cell 5: 905-915. [Online Journal]