A nuclear pyruvate dehydrogenase complex is important for the generation of acetyl-CoA and histone acetylation

Cell. 2014 Jul 3;158(1):84-97. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.04.046.


DNA transcription, replication, and repair are regulated by histone acetylation, a process that requires the generation of acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA). Here, we show that all the subunits of the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) are also present and functional in the nucleus of mammalian cells. We found that knockdown of nuclear PDC in isolated functional nuclei decreased the de novo synthesis of acetyl-CoA and acetylation of core histones. Nuclear PDC levels increased in a cell-cycle-dependent manner and in response to serum, epidermal growth factor, or mitochondrial stress; this was accompanied by a corresponding decrease in mitochondrial PDC levels, suggesting a translocation from the mitochondria to the nucleus. Inhibition of nuclear PDC decreased acetylation of specific lysine residues on histones important for G1-S phase progression and expression of S phase markers. Dynamic translocation of mitochondrial PDC to the nucleus provides a pathway for nuclear acetyl-CoA synthesis required for histone acetylation and epigenetic regulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyl Coenzyme A / biosynthesis*
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleus / enzymology
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / enzymology
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex / metabolism*


  • Histones
  • Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex
  • Acetyl Coenzyme A