Structural basis for the regulation of nucleosome recognition and HDAC activity by histone deacetylase assemblies

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Science Advances  08 Jan 2021:
Vol. 7, no. 2, eabd4413
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abd4413


The chromatin-modifying histone deacetylases (HDACs) remove acetyl groups from acetyl-lysine residues in histone amino-terminal tails, thereby mediating transcriptional repression. Structural makeup and mechanisms by which multisubunit HDAC complexes recognize nucleosomes remain elusive. Our cryo–electron microscopy structures of the yeast class II HDAC ensembles show that the HDAC protomer comprises a triangle-shaped assembly of stoichiometry Hda12-Hda2-Hda3, in which the active sites of the Hda1 dimer are freely accessible. We also observe a tetramer of protomers, where the nucleosome binding modules are inaccessible. Structural analysis of the nucleosome-bound complexes indicates how positioning of Hda1 adjacent to histone H2B affords HDAC catalysis. Moreover, it reveals how an intricate network of multiple contacts between a dimer of protomers and the nucleosome creates a platform for expansion of the HDAC activities. Our study provides comprehensive insight into the structural plasticity of the HDAC complex and its functional mechanism of chromatin modification.

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