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Wiley, E.A., Ohba, R., Yao, M.-C., Allis, C.D. 2000. Developmentally regulated Rpd3p homolog specific to the transcriptionally active macronucleus of vegetative Tetrahymena thermophila. Molecular and Cellular Biology 23: 8319-8328.

A clear relationship exists between histone acetylation and transcriptional output, the balance of which is conferred by opposing histone acetyltransferases (HATs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs). To explore the role of HDAC activity in determining the transcriptional competency of chromatin, we have exploited the biological features of Tetrahymena as a model. Each vegetative cell contains two nuclei: a somatic, transcriptionally active macronucleus containing hyperacetylated chromatin and a transcriptionally silent, germ line micronucleus containing hypoacetylated histones. Using a PCR-based strategy, a deacetylase gene (named THD1) encoding a homolog of the yeast HDAC Rpd3p was cloned. Thd1p deacetylates all four core histones in vitro. It resides exclusively in the macronucleus during vegetative growth and is asymmetrically distributed to developing new macronuclei early in their differentiation during the sexual pathway. Together, these data are most consistent with a potential role for Thd1p in transcriptional regulation and suggest that histone deacetylation may be important for the differentiation of micronuclei into macronuclei during development.

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