Protein lysine acetylation is a post-translational modification that regulates protein structure and function. It is targeted to proteins by lysine acetyltransferases (KATs) or removed by lysine deacetylases. This work identifies a role for the KAT enzyme general control of amino acid synthesis protein 5 (GCN5; KAT2A) in regulating muscle integrity by inhibiting DNA binding of the transcription factor/repressor Yin Yang 1 (YY1). Here we report that a muscle-specific mouse knockout of GCN5 (Gcn5skm−/−) reduces the expression of key structural muscle proteins, including dystrophin, resulting in myopathy. GCN5 was found to acetylate YY1 at two residues (K392 and K393), disrupting the interaction between the YY1 zinc finger region and DNA. These findings were supported by human data, including an observed negative correlation between YY1 gene expression and muscle fiber diameter. Collectively, GCN5 positively regulates muscle integrity through maintenance of structural protein expression via acetylation-dependent inhibition of YY1. This work implicates the role of protein acetylation in the regulation of muscle health and for consideration in the design of novel therapeutic strategies to support healthy muscle during myopathy or aging.

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