The C terminus of the histone chaperone Asf1 cross-links to histone H3 in yeast and promotes interaction with histones H3 and H4

Mol Cell Biol. 2013 Feb;33(3):605-21. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01053-12. Epub 2012 Nov 26.


The central histone H3/H4 chaperone Asf1 comprises a highly conserved globular core and a divergent C-terminal tail. While the function and structure of the Asf1 core are well known, the function of the tail is less well understood. Here, we have explored the role of the yeast (yAsf1) and human (hAsf1a and hAsf1b) Asf1 tails in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. We show, using a photoreactive, unnatural amino acid, that Asf1 tail residue 210 cross-links to histone H3 in vivo and, further, that loss of C-terminal tail residues 211 to 279 weakens yAsf1-histone binding affinity in vitro nearly 200-fold. Via several yAsf1 C-terminal truncations and yeast-human chimeric proteins, we found that truncations at residue 210 increase transcriptional silencing and that the hAsf1a tail partially substitutes for full-length yAsf1 with respect to silencing but that full-length hAsf1b is a better overall substitute for full-length yAsf1. In addition, we show that the C-terminal tail of Asf1 is phosphorylated at T270 in yeast. Loss of this phosphorylation site does not prevent coimmunoprecipitation of yAsf1 and Rad53 from yeast extracts, whereas amino acid residue substitutions at the Asf1-histone H3/H4 interface do. Finally, we show that residue substitutions in yAsf1 near the CAF-1/HIRA interface also influence yAsf1's function in silencing.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Amino Acid Substitution
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / chemistry*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Histones / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry*
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phosphorylation
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Interaction Mapping
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / chemistry
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / chemistry*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • ASF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • ASF1A protein, human
  • ASF1B protein, human
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Histones
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Checkpoint Kinase 2
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • RAD53 protein, S cerevisiae