Orchestration of chromatin-based processes: mind the TRRAP

Oncogene. 2007 Aug 13;26(37):5358-72. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210605.


Chromatin modifications at core histones including acetylation, methylation, phosphorylation and ubiquitination play an important role in diverse biological processes. Acetylation of specific lysine residues within the N terminus tails of core histones is arguably the most studied histone modification; however, its precise roles in different cellular processes and how it is disrupted in human diseases remain poorly understood. In the last decade, a number of histone acetyltransferases (HATs) enzymes responsible for histone acetylation, has been identified and functional studies have begun to unravel their biological functions. The activity of many HATs is dependent on HAT complexes, the multiprotein assemblies that contain one HAT catalytic subunit, adapter proteins, several other molecules of unknown function and a large protein called TRansformation/tRanscription domain-Associated Protein (TRRAP). As a common component of many HAT complexes, TRRAP appears to be responsible for the recruitment of these complexes to chromatin during transcription, replication and DNA repair. Recent studies have shed new light on the role of TRRAP in HAT complexes as well as mechanisms by which it mediates diverse cellular processes. Thus, TRRAP appears to be responsible for a concerted and context-dependent recruitment of HATs and coordination of distinct chromatin-based processes, suggesting that its deregulation may contribute to diseases. In this review, we summarize recent developments in our understanding of the function of TRRAP and TRRAP-containing HAT complexes in normal cellular processes and speculate on the mechanism underlying abnormal events that may lead to human diseases such as cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / chemistry
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / genetics
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Embryonic Development
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / chemistry
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Chromatin
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • transformation-transcription domain-associated protein
  • Histone Acetyltransferases