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Title: Acetylation & Co: an expanding repertoire of histone acylations regulates chromatin and transcription.
Authors: Barnes, Claire E.
English, David M.
Cowley, Shaun M.
First Published: 2-Apr-2019
Publisher: Portland Press for Biochemical Society
Citation: Essays in Biochemistry, 2019, 63(1), pp. 97-107
Abstract: Packaging the long and fragile genomes of eukaryotic species into nucleosomes is all well and good, but how do cells gain access to the DNA again after it has been bundled away? The solution, in every species from yeast to man, is to post-translationally modify histones, altering their chemical properties to either relax the chromatin, label it for remodelling or make it more compact still. Histones are subject to a myriad of modifications: acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation, ubiquitination etc. This review focuses on histone acylations, a diverse group of modifications which occur on the ε-amino group of Lysine residues and includes the well-characterised Lysine acetylation. Over the last 50 years, histone acetylation has been extensively characterised, with the discovery of histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs), and global mapping experiments, revealing an association of hyperacetylated histones with accessible, transcriptionally active chromatin. More recently, there has been an explosion in the number of unique short chain 'acylations' identified by MS, including: propionylation, butyrylation, crotonylation, succinylation, malonylation and 2-hydroxyisobutyrylation. These novel modifications add a range of chemical environments to histones, and similar to acetylation, appear to accumulate at transcriptional start sites and correlate with gene activity.
DOI Link: 10.1042/EBC20180061
eISSN: 1744-1358
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2019. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Molecular and Cell Biology

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