Activation of transcription through histone H4 acetylation by MOF, an acetyltransferase essential for dosage compensation in Drosophila

Mol Cell. 2000 Feb;5(2):367-75. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80431-1.


Dosage compensation in Drosophila involves a 2-fold increase in transcription from the single male X relative to the two female X chromosomes. Regulation at the level of the chromosome involves alterations in chromatin organization: male X chromosomes appear decondensed and are marked by acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16. We demonstrate that MOF, a protein required for dosage compensation with significant sequence similarity to the MYST family of acetyltransferases, is a histone acetyltransferase that acetylates chromatin specifically at histone H4 lysine 16. This acetylation relieves chromatin-mediated repression of transcription in vitro and in vivo if MOF is targeted to a promoter by fusion to a DNA-binding domain. Acetylation of chromatin by MOF, therefore, appears to be causally involved in transcriptional activation during dosage compensation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Female
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Transcriptional Activation*
  • X Chromosome / genetics


  • Histones
  • Nucleosomes
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Lysine