Hat1 is the catalytic subunit of the only type B histone acetyltransferase known (HAT-B). The enzyme specifically acetylates lysine 12, and to a lesser extent lysine 5, of free, non-chromatin-bound histone H4. The complex is usually isolated with cytosolic fractions and is thought to be involved in chromatin assembly. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae HAT-B complex also contains Hat2, a protein stimulating Hat1 catalytic activity. We have now identified by two-hybrid experiments Hif1 as both a Hat1- and a histone H4-interacting protein. These interactions were dependent on HAT2, indicating a mediating role for Hat2. Biochemical fractionation and co-immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that Hif1 is a component of a yeast heterotrimeric HAT-B complex, in which Hat2 bridges Hat1 and Hif1 proteins. In contrast to Hat2, this novel subunit does not appear to regulate Hat1 enzymatic activity. Nevertheless, similarly to Hat1, Hif1 influences telomeric silencing. In a localization analysis by immunofluorescence microscopy on yeast strains expressing tagged versions of Hat1, Hat2, and Hif1, we have found that all three HAT-B proteins are mainly localized in the nucleus. Thus, we propose that the distinction between A- and B-type enzymes should henceforth be based on their capacity to acetylate histones bound to nucleosomes and not on their location within the cell. Finally, by Western blotting assays, we have not detected differences in the in vivo acetylation of H4 lysine 12 (acK12H4) between wild-type and hat1Delta, hat2Delta, or hif1Delta mutant strains, suggesting that the level of HAT-B-dependent acK12H4 may be very low under normal growth conditions.
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