The histone chaperone anti-silencing function 1 stimulates the acetylation of newly synthesized histone H3 in S-phase

J Biol Chem. 2007 Jan 12;282(2):1334-40. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M608025200. Epub 2006 Nov 15.


Anti-silencing function 1 (Asf1) is a highly conserved chaperone of histones H3/H4 that assembles or disassembles chromatin during transcription, replication, and repair. We have found that budding yeast lacking Asf1 has greatly reduced levels of histone H3 acetylated at lysine 9. Lysine 9 is acetylated on newly synthesized budding yeast histone H3 prior to its assembly onto newly replicated DNA. Accordingly, we found that the vast majority of H3 Lys-9 acetylation peaked in S-phase, and this S-phase peak of H3 lysine 9 acetylation was absent in yeast lacking Asf1. By contrast, deletion of ASF1 has no effect on the S-phase specific peak of H4 lysine 12 acetylation; another modification carried by newly synthesized histones prior to chromatin assembly. We show that Gcn5 is the histone acetyltransferase responsible for the S-phase-specific peak of H3 lysine 9 acetylation. Strikingly, overexpression of Asf1 leads to greatly increased levels of H3 on acetylation on lysine 56 and Gcn5-dependent acetylation on lysine 9. Analysis of a panel of Asf1 mutations that modulate the ability of Asf1 to bind to histones H3/H4 demonstrates that the histone binding activity of Asf1 is required for the acetylation of Lys-9 and Lys-56 on newly synthesized H3. These results demonstrate that Asf1 does not affect the stability of the newly synthesized histones per se, but instead histone binding by Asf1 promotes the efficient acetylation of specific residues of newly synthesized histone H3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Binding Sites
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Histones / chemistry
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Lysine / metabolism
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • S Phase / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*


  • ASF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Histones
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Lysine