A shifting paradigm: Histone deacetylases and transcriptional activation

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73 Scopus citations


Transcriptional repression and silencing have been strongly associated with hypoacetylation of histones. Accordingly, histone deacetylases, which remove acetyl groups from histones, have been shown to participate in mechanisms of transcriptional repression. Therefore, current models of the role of acetylation in transcriptional regulation focus on the acetylation status of histones and designate histone acetyltransferases, which add acetyl groups to histones, as transcriptional coactivators and histone deacetylases as corepressors. In recent years, an accumulation of studies have shown that these enzymes also target non-histone proteins and that histone deacetylases have clear roles as coactivators at a variety of genes, some of which are key regulators of cell growth and survival. This review summarizes the evidence for histone deacetylases as coactivators and provides models of coactivation mechanisms, some of which integrate roles of acetylated histones and non-histone proteins in transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15-24
Number of pages10
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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