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Genes Dev. 1999 Mar 15;13(6):698-708.

The boundaries of the silenced HMR domain in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Unit on Chromatin and Transcription, National Institutes of Child Health and Development (NICHD) Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The chromosomes of eukaryotes are organized into structurally and functionally discrete domains that provide a mechanism to compact the DNA as well as delineate independent units of gene activity. It is believed that insulator/boundary elements separate these domains. Here we report the identification and characterization of boundary elements that flank the transcriptionally repressed HMR locus in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Deletion of these boundary elements led to the spread of silenced chromatin, whereas the ectopic insertion of these elements between a silencer and a promoter blocked the repressive effects of the silencer on that promoter at HMR and at telomeres. Sequence analysis indicated that the boundary element contained a TY1 LTR, and a tRNA gene and mutational analysis has implicated the Smc proteins, which encode structural components of chromosomes, in boundary element function.

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