Li X, Yang H, Huang S, Qiu Y
Lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) are important epigenetic modifiers and dynamically cycled on active gene promoters to regulate transcription. Although HDACs are recruited to gene promoters and DNA hypersensitive sites through interactions with DNA binding factors, HDAC activities are also found globally in intergenic regions where DNA binding factors are not present. It is suggested that HDACs are recruited to those regions through other distinct, yet undefined mechanisms. Here we show that HDACs can be directly recruited to chromatin in the absence of other factors through direct interactions with both DNA and core histone subunits. HDACs interact with DNA in a non-sequence specific manner. HDAC1 and p300 directly bind to the overlapping regions of the histone H3 tail and compete for histone binding. Previously we show that p300 can acetylate HDAC1 to attenuate deacetylase activity. Here we have further mapped two distinct regions of HDAC1 that interact with p300. Interestingly, these regions of HDAC1 also associate with histone H3. More importantly, p300 and HDAC1 compete for chromatin binding both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, the mutually exclusive associations of HDAC1/p300, p300/histone, and HDAC1/histone on chromatin contribute to the dynamic regulation of histone acetylation by balancing HDAC or KAT activity present at histones to reorganize chromatin structure and regulate transcription.