Targeting the Core of Transcription

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Science  03 Sep 2010:
Vol. 329, Issue 5996, pp. 1158-1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.1195447

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A adenosine 5′-monophosphate–activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a cellular energy sensor expressed across eukaryotes (1). It is switched on by stresses that disturb energy balance and triggers both acute responses and longer-term adaptations by affecting gene expression. It was thought that its transcriptional effects were mediated largely via phosphorylation of transcription factors (2) or coregulators (3, 4) that recruit RNA polymerase II to gene promoters. However, on page 1201 of this issue, Bungard et al. (5) suggest that AMPK might cause additional effects by phosphorylating a chromatin protein, histone H2B.