Transcriptional activation of histone subtypes is coordinately regulated and tightly coupled with the onset of DNA replication during S-phase entry. The underlying molecular mechanisms for such coordination and coupling are not well understood. The cyclin E-Cdk2 substrate NPAT has been shown to play an essential role in the transcriptional activation of histone genes at the G(1)/S-phase transition. Here, we show that NPAT interacts with components of the Tip60 histone acetyltransferase complex through a novel amino acid motif, which is functionally conserved in E2F and adenovirus E1A proteins. In addition, we demonstrate that transformation/transactivation domain-associated protein (TRRAP) and Tip60, two components of the Tip60 complex, associate with histone gene promoters at the G(1)/S-phase boundary in an NPAT-dependent manner. In correlation with the association of the TRRAP-Tip60 complex, histone H4 acetylation at histone gene promoters increases at the G(1)/S-phase transition, and this increase involves NPAT function. Suppression of TRRAP or Tip60 expression by RNA interference inhibits histone gene activation. Thus, our data support a model in which NPAT recruits the TRRAP-Tip60 complex to histone gene promoters to coordinate the transcriptional activation of multiple histone genes during the G(1)/S-phase transition.
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