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Besides the transcription-promoting role of histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and the transcription-delimiting function of histone deacetylases (HDACs) through histone acetylation and deacetylation respectively, HATs and HDACs also regulate the activity of several non-histone proteins. This includes signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs), key proteins in cytokine signaling. Unlike Tyr phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, which mainly acts as an on/off switch of STAT activity, the control exerted by HATs and HDACs appears multifaceted and far more complex than initially imagined. Our review focuses on the latest trends and novel hypotheses to explain differential context-dependent STAT regulation by complex posttranslational modification patterns. We chart the knowledge on how STATs interact with HATs and HDACs, and additionally bring a transcriptional regulatory and gene-set specific role for HDACs in the picture. Indeed, a growing amount of evidence demonstrates, paradoxically, that not only HAT but also HDAC activity can be required for STAT-dependent transcription, in a STAT subtype- and cell type-dependent manner. Referring to recent reports, we review and discuss the various molecular mechanisms that have recently been proposed to account for this peculiar regulation, in an attempt to shed more light on the difficult yet important question on how STAT specificity is being generated. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Laura Icardi, Karolien De Bosscher, Jan Tavernier. The HAT/HDAC interplay: multilevel control of STAT signaling. Cytokine & growth factor reviews. 2012 Dec;23(6):283-91

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PMID: 22989617

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