Cell survival in early embryogenesis requires proper dosage of GCN5 and p300

Huy Minh Phan, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Histone acetylation is a central event in transcriptional activation. The importance of this modification in mammalian development is highlighted by knockout studies that revealed loss of the histone acetyltransferases GCN5, p300, or CBP results in embryonic lethality. Furthermore, early embryogenesis is sensitive to the dosage of p300 and CBP since double p300 +/−CBP+/− heterozygotes die in utero, although either single heterozygote survives. PCAF and GCN5 physically interact with p300 and CBP in vitro. To determine whether these two groups of HATs interact functionally in vivo, we created mice lacking one or more allele of p300, GCN5 or PCAF. As expected, we found that mice heterozygous for any one of these null alleles are viable. The majority of GCN5 p300 double heterozygotes also survive to adulthood with no apparent abnormalities. However, a portion of these mice die prior to birth. These embryos are developmentally stunted and exhibit increased apoptosis compared to wild type or single GCN5 or p300 heterozygous littermates at E8.5. Tissue specification is unaffected in these embryos but organ formation is compromised. In contrast, no abnormalities were observed in mice harboring mutations in both PCAF and p300 , emphasizing the specificity of HAT functions in mammalian development. Since GCN5 null embryos die early in embryogenesis because of a marked increase in apoptosis, studies of its function and mechanism in late development and in tissue specific differentiation are precluded. Here, we also report the establishment of a GCN5 null embryonic stem cell line and a conditional floxGCN5 mouse line, which will serve as powerful genetic tools to examine in depth the function of GCN5 in mammalian development and in adult tissues.

Subject Area

Molecular biology|Cellular biology

Recommended Citation

Phan, Huy Minh, "Cell survival in early embryogenesis requires proper dosage of GCN5 and p300" (2002). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3056495.