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  1. The family of lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) regulates epigenetics and signaling pathways in eukaryotic cells. So far, knowledge of different KAT members contributing to the cellular acetylome is limited, which limits our understanding of biological functions of KATs in physiology and disease. Here, we found that a clickable acyl-CoA reporter, 3-azidopropanoyl CoA (3AZ-CoA), presented remarkable cell permeability and effectively acylated proteins in cells. We rationally engineered the major KAT member, histone acetyltransferase 1 (HAT1), to generate its mutant forms that displayed excellent bio-orthogonal activity for 3AZ-CoA in substrate labeling. We were able to apply the bio-orthogonal enzyme–cofactor pair combined with SILAC proteomics to achieve HAT1 substrate targeting, enrichment, and proteomic profiling in living cells. A total of 123 protein substrates of HAT1 were disclosed, underlining the multifactorial functions of this important enzyme than hitherto known. This study demonstrates the first example of utilizing bio-orthogonal reporters as a chemoproteomic strategy for substrate mapping of individual KAT isoforms in the native biological contexts.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 13, 2023
  2. Abstract Histone lysine crotonylation is a posttranslational modification with demonstrated functions in transcriptional regulation. Here we report the discovery of a new type of histone posttranslational modification, lysine methacrylation (Kmea), corresponding to a structural isomer of crotonyllysine. We validate the identity of this modification using diverse chemical approaches and further confirm the occurrence of this type of histone mark by pan specific and site-specific anti-methacryllysine antibodies. In total, we identify 27 Kmea modified histone sites in HeLa cells using affinity enrichment with a pan Kmea antibody and mass spectrometry. Subsequent biochemical studies show that histone Kmea is a dynamic mark, which is controlled by HAT1 as a methacryltransferase and SIRT2 as a de-methacrylase. Altogether, these investigations uncover a new type of enzyme-catalyzed histone modification and suggest that methacrylyl-CoA generating metabolism is part of a growing number of epigenome-associated metabolic pathways.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. Abstract Short-chain acylations of lysine residues in eukaryotic proteins are recognized as essential posttranslational chemical modifications (PTMs) that regulate cellular processes from transcription, cell cycle, metabolism, to signal transduction. Lysine butyrylation was initially discovered as a normal straight chain butyrylation (Knbu). Here we report its structural isomer, branched chain butyrylation, i.e. lysine isobutyrylation (Kibu), existing as a new PTM on nuclear histones. Uniquely, isobutyryl-CoA is derived from valine catabolism and branched chain fatty acid oxidation which is distinct from the metabolism of n-butyryl-CoA. Several histone acetyltransferases were found to possess lysine isobutyryltransferase activity in vitro, especially p300 and HAT1. Transfection and western blot experiments showed that p300 regulated histone isobutyrylation levels in the cell. We resolved the X-ray crystal structures of HAT1 in complex with isobutyryl-CoA that gleaned an atomic level insight into HAT-catalyzed isobutyrylation. RNA-Seq profiling revealed that isobutyrate greatly affected the expression of genes associated with many pivotal biological pathways. Together, our findings identify Kibu as a novel chemical modification mark in histones and suggest its extensive role in regulating epigenetics and cellular physiology.