Histone acetyl transferases (HATs) play a crucial role in eukaryotes by regulating chromatin architecture and locus-specific transcription. The GCN5 HAT was identified as a subunit of the SAGA (Spt-Ada-Gcn5-Acetyltransferase) multiprotein complex. Vertebrate cells express a second HAT, PCAF, that is 73% identical to GCN5. Here, we report the characterization of the mammalian ATAC (Ada-Two-A-Containing) complexes containing either GCN5 or PCAF in a mutually exclusive manner. In vitro ATAC complexes acetylate lysine 14 of histone H3. Moreover, ATAC- or SAGA-specific knock-down experiments suggest that both ATAC and SAGA are involved in the acetylation of histone H3K9 and K14 residues. Despite their catalytic similarities, SAGA and ATAC execute their coactivator functions on distinct sets of inducible target genes. Interestingly, ATAC strongly influences the global phosphorylation level of histone H3S10, suggesting that in mammalian cells a cross-talk exists linking ATAC function to H3S10 phosphorylation.