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Posttranslational modifications regulate the activity, stability, and localization of proteins that can confer both positive and negative regulation to diverse biological systems. Acetylation is a protein modification that regulates eukaryotic gene expression. The addition of acetyl groups to nuclear proteins (such as histones and transcription factors) by histone acetyltransferase enzymes is frequently associated with activation of gene expression, whereas removal of acetyl groups by deacetylase enzymes is commonly associated with transcriptional repression. This article describes a number of exceptions to this general paradigm, indicating a previously unrecognized dynamic complexity in gene regulation by reversible acetylation.
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