Chromatin remodelling and histone-modifying complexes govern the modulation of chromatin structure. While components of these complexes are diverse, nuclear actin-related proteins (Arps) have been repeatedly found in these complexes from yeast to mammals. In most cases, Arps are required for functioning of the complexes, but the molecular mechanisms of nuclear Arps have as yet been largely unknown. The Arps and actin, sharing a common ancestor, are supposed to be highly similar in the three-dimensional structure of their core regions, including the ATP-binding pocket. The Arp Act3p/Arp4p of Saccharomyces cerevisiae exists within the nucleus, partly as a component of several high molecular mass complexes, including the NuA4 histone acetyltransferase (HAT) complex, and partly as uncomplexed molecules. We observed that mutations in the putative ATP-binding pocket of Act3p/Arp4p increased its concentration in the high molecular mass complexes and, conversely, that an excess of ATP or ATPgammaS led to the release of wild-type Act3p/Arp4p from the complexes. These results suggest a requirement of ATP binding by Act3p/Arp4p for its dissociation from the complexes. In accordance, a mutation in the putative ATP binding site of Act3p/Arp4p inhibited the conversion of the NuA4 complex into the smaller piccoloNuA4, which does not contain Act3p/Arp4p and exhibits HAT activity distinct from that of NuA4. Although the in vitro binding activity of ATP by recombinant Act3p/Arp4p was found to be rather weak, our observations, taken together, suggest that the ATP-binding pocket of Act3p/Arp4p is involved in the function of chromatin modulating complexes by regulating their dynamics.
(c) 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.