Saccharomyces cerevisiae Hat1, together with Hat2 and Hif1, forms the histone acetyltransferase B (HAT-B) complex. Previous studies performed with synthetic N-terminal histone H4 peptides found that whereas the HAT-B complex acetylates only Lys12, recombinant Hat1 is able to modify Lys12 and Lys5. Here we demonstrate that both Lys12 and Lys5 of soluble, non-chromatin-bound histone H4 are in vivo targets of acetylation for the yeast HAT-B enzyme. Moreover, coimmunoprecipitation assays revealed that Lys12/Lys5-acetylated histone H4 is bound to the HAT-B complex in the soluble cell fraction. Both Hat1 and Hat2, but not Hif1, are required for the Lys12/Lys5-specific acetylation and for histone H4 binding. HAT-B-dependent acetylation of histone H4 was detected in the soluble fraction of cells at distinct cell cycle stages, and increased when cells accumulated excess histones. Strikingly, histone H3 was not found in any of the immunoprecipitates obtained with the different components of the HAT-B enzyme, indicating the possibility that histone H3 is not together with histone H4 in this complex. Finally, the exchange of Lys for Arg at position 12 of histone H4 did not interfere with histone H4 association with the complex, but prevented acetylation on Lys5 by the HAT-B enzyme, in vivo as well as in vitro.
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