Histone acetyltransferases (HATs) are an essential regulatory component in chromatin biology. Unlike A-type HATs, which are found in the nucleus and utilize nucleosomal histones as substrates and thus primarily function in transcriptional regulation, B-type HATs have been characterized as cytoplasmic enzymes that catalyze the acetylation of free histones. Here, we report on a member of the GCN5-related N-acetyltransferase superfamily and another B-type HAT, HAT4. Interestingly, HAT4 is localized in the Golgi apparatus and displays a substrate preference for lysine residues of free histone H4, including H4K79 and H4K91, that reside in the globular domain of H4. Significantly, HAT4 depletion impaired nucleosome assembly, inhibited cell proliferation, sensitized cells to DNA damage, and induced cell apoptosis. Our data indicate that HAT4 is an important player in the organization and function of the genome and may contribute to the diversity and complexity of higher eukaryotic organisms.
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