Hsu E, Pennella MA, Zemke NR, Eng C, Berk AJ
How histone acetylation promotes transcription is not clearly understood. Here, we confirm an interaction between p300 and the adenovirus 2 large E1A activation domain (AD) and map the interacting regions in E1A by observing colocalization at an integrated array of fusions of LacI-mCherry to E1A fragments with YFP-p300. Viruses with mutations in E1A subdomains were constructed and analyzed for kinetics of early viral RNA expression and association of acetylated H3K9, K18, K27, TBP, and RNA polymerase II (Pol II) across the viral genome. The results indicate that this E1A interaction with p300 is required for H3K18 and H3K27 acetylation at the E2early, E3, and E4 promoters and is required for TBP and Pol II association with the E2early promoter. In contrast, H3K18/27 acetylation was not required for TBP and Pol II association with the E3 and E4 promoters but was required for E4 transcription at a step subsequent to Pol II preinitiation complex assembly. Despite a wealth of data associating promoter and enhancer region histone N-terminal tail lysine acetylation with transcriptional activity, there are relatively few examples of studies that establish causation between these histone posttranslational modifications and transcription. While hypoacetylation of histone H3 lysines 18 and 27 is associated with repression, the step(s) in the overall process of transcription that is blocked at a hypoacetylated promoter is not clearly established in most instances. Studies presented here confirm that the adenovirus 2 large E1A protein activation domain interacts with p300, as reported previously (P. Pelka, J. N. G. Ablack, J. Torchia, A. S. Turnell, R. J. A. Grand, J. S. Mymryk, Nucleic Acids Res 1095-1106, 2009, https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gkn1057), and that the resulting acetylation of H3K18/27 affects varied steps in transcription at different viral promoters.