Molecular Genetics and Genomics

, Volume 273, Issue 3, pp 264–272 | Cite as

The Elp3 subunit of human Elongator complex is functionally similar to its counterpart in yeast

  • Fen Li
  • Jun Lu
  • Qiuju Han
  • Guoping Zhang
  • Baiqu Huang
Original Paper


Functions of the Elp3 subunit of the recently purified human Elongator were studied using an in vivo yeast complementation system. We demonstrated that the human ELP3 gene (hELP3) was able partially to complement functional defects of yeast elp3Δ cells. Furthermore, a chimeric ELP3 gene (yhELP3) encoding a protein in which the putative histone acetyltransferase (HAT) domain of hELP3 fused to the remainder of the yeast Elp3p corrected the growth defects of elp3Δ cells and complemented the slow activation of some inducible genes. Moreover, deletion of the B motif of the catalytic domain of the HAT region of hELP3 eliminated the ability of yhELP3 to complement elp3Δ in vivo, indicating that the HAT activity is essential for ELP3 function. We also demonstrated that replacement of specific lysine residues in histones H3 and H4 by arginine affected the complementation capacity of both the yeast gene (yELP3) and the chimeric yhELP3 in the elp3Δstrain. Specifically, mutation of lysine-14 of H3 (H3 K14R) or lysine-8 of H4 (H4 K8R) reduced the ability of yELP3 and yhELP3 to complement the elp3Δ mutant, whereas simultaneous mutation of both sites (H3 K14R/H4 K8R) almost completely abolished complementation. These results imply a link between the acetylation of specific sites in nucleosomal histones and the regulation of transcription elongation by human Elp3. The data presented in this report suggest that the Elp3 subunits of human and yeast are highly conserved in their structure and functions.


Human Elp3 Elongator complex Histone acetyltransferase (HAT) Yeast complementation Histone modification 



We thank Professor J. Q. Svejstrup for providing yeast strains (W303, JSY130, and JSY316) and plasmid pYES2 containing hELP3-coding sequence. This study was funded by grants from the National Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. G1999053902) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 30370316). Fen Li and Jun Lu contributed equally to this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fen Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jun Lu
    • 1
  • Qiuju Han
    • 1
  • Guoping Zhang
    • 1
  • Baiqu Huang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Genetics and CytologyNortheast Normal UniversityPR China
  2. 2.College of Life ScienceHenan Normal UniversityPR China

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