Lysine Acetylation and Deacetylation
Proteins are typically acetylated on lysine residues and this reaction relies on acetyl-coenzyme A as the acetyl group donor. In histone acetylation and deacetylation, histone proteins are acetylated and deacetylated on lysine residues in the N-terminal tail as part of gene regulation. Typically, these reactions are catalyzed by enzymes with histone acetyltransferase (HAT) or histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, although HATs and HDACs can modify the acetylation status of non-histone proteins as well.
The regulation of transcription factors, effector proteins, molecular chaperones, and cytoskeletal proteins by acetylation and deacetylation is a significant post-translational regulatory mechanism These regulatory mechanisms are analogous to phosphorylation and dephosphorylation by the action of kinases and phosphatases. Not only can the acetylation state of a protein modify its activity, there has been recent suggestion that this post-translational modification may also crosstalk with phosphorylation, methylation, ubiquitination, sumoylation, and others for dynamic control of cellular signaling.
The regulation of tubulin protein is an example of this in mouse neurons and astroglia. A tubulin acetyltransferase is located in the axoneme, and acetylates the α-tubulin subunit in an assembled microtubule. Once disassembled, this acetylation is removed by another specific deacetylase in the cell cytosol. Thus axonemal microtubules, which have a long half-life, carry a "signature acetylation" which is absent from cytosolic microtubules which have a shorter half-life.