Subunit composition and substrate specificity of a MOF-containing histone acetyltransferase distinct from the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex.
Human MOF (MYST1), a member of the MYST (Moz-Ybf2/Sas3-Sas2-Tip60) family of histone acetyltransferases (HATs), is the human ortholog of the Drosophila males absent on the first (MOF) protein. MOF is the catalytic subunit of the male-specific lethal (MSL) HAT complex, which plays a key role in dosage compensation in the fly and is responsible for a large fraction of histone H4 lysine 16 (H4K16) acetylation in vivo. MOF was recently reported to be a component of a second HAT complex, designated the non-specific lethal (NSL) complex (Mendjan, S., Taipale, M., Kind, J., Holz, H., Gebhardt, P., Schelder, M., Vermeulen, M., Buscaino, A., Duncan, K., Mueller, J., Wilm, M., Stunnenberg, H. G., Saumweber, H., and Akhtar, A. (2006) Mol. Cell 21, 811-823). Here we report an analysis of the subunit composition and substrate specificity of the NSL complex. Proteomic analyses of complexes purified through multiple candidate subunits reveal that NSL is composed of nine subunits. Two of its subunits, WD repeat domain 5 (WDR5) and host cell factor 1 (HCF1), are shared with members of the MLL/SET family of histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) methyltransferase complexes, and a third subunit, MCRS1, is shared with the human INO80 chromatin-remodeling complex. In addition, we show that assembly of the MOF HAT into MSL or NSL complexes controls its substrate specificity. Although MSL-associated MOF acetylates nucleosomal histone H4 almost exclusively on lysine 16, NSL-associated MOF exhibits a relaxed specificity and also acetylates nucleosomal histone H4 on lysines 5 and 8.