Bypassing the Requirement for an Essential MYST Acetyltransferase
Ana Lilia Torres-Machorro, Lorraine Pillus


Histone acetylation is a key regulatory feature for chromatin that is established by opposing enzymatic activities of lysine acetyltransferases (KATs/HATs) and deacetylases (KDACs/HDACs). Esa1, like its human homolog Tip60, is an essential MYST family enzyme that acetylates histones H4 and H2A and other nonhistone substrates. Here we report that the essential requirement for ESA1 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae can be bypassed upon loss of Sds3, a noncatalytic subunit of the Rpd3L deacetylase complex. By studying the esa1sds3 strain, we conclude that the essential function of Esa1 is in promoting the cellular balance of acetylation. We demonstrate this by fine-tuning acetylation through modulation of HDACs and the histone tails themselves. Functional interactions between Esa1 and HDACs of class I, class II, and the Sirtuin family define specific roles of these opposing activities in cellular viability, fitness, and response to stress. The fact that both increased and decreased expression of the ESA1 homolog TIP60 has cancer associations in humans underscores just how important the balance of its activity is likely to be for human well-being.

  • Received February 21, 2014.
  • Accepted May 7, 2014.
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