Genes & Cancer

The adenovirus E1A oncoprotein N-terminal transcriptional repression domain enhances p300 autoacetylation and inhibits histone H3 Lys18 acetylation

Ling-Jun Zhao1, Paul M. Loewenstein1 and Maurice Green1

1 Institute for Molecular Virology, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, Doisy research Center, St. Louis, Missouri


Maurice Green, email:

Keywords: E1A 1-80, H3K18 acetylation, reconstituted chromatin, p300, autoacetylation.

Received: November 17, 2014 Accepted: January 7, 2015 Published: January 8, 2015


Expression of the adenovirus E1A N-terminal transcription repression domain alone (E1A 1-80) represses transcription from specific promoters such as HER2 [1] and from reconstituted chromatin [2]. Significantly, E1A 1-80 can induce the death of human breast cancer cells over-expressing the HER2 oncogene [1] as well as other cancer cells. Here, we report that E1A 1-80 alone is sufficient to inhibit H3K18 acetylation in vivo and p300-mediated H3K18 acetylation in reconstituted chromatin. Of interest, hypoacetylation of H3K18 has been correlated with the survival of tumor cells and the poor prognosis of many cancers [3, 4]. E1A 1-80 enhances p300 autoacetylation and concurrently inhibits H3K18 acetylation in chromatin in a dose-dependent manner. Pre-acetylation of p300 by incubation with acetyl-CoA alone reduces p300’s ability to acetylate H3K18 in chromatin. Additional acetylation of p300 in the presence of E1A 1-80 produces stronger inhibition of H3K18 acetylation. These findings indicate that autoacetylation of p300 greatly reduces its ability to acetylate H3K18. The results reported here combined with our previous findings suggest that E1A can repress transcription by multiple strategies, including altering the chromatin modifying activity of p300 and dissociating TFIID from the TATA box thus disrupting formation of the transcription pre-initiation complex [5, 6].

PII: 47