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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Apr;26(8):3256-65.

Structure and function of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sir3 BAH domain.

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  • 1W. M. Keck Structural Biology Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724, USA .


Previous work has shown that the N terminus of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sir3 protein is crucial for the function of Sir3 in transcriptional silencing. Here, we show that overexpression of N-terminal fragments of Sir3 in strains lacking the full-length protein can lead to some silencing of HML and HMR. Sir3 contains a BAH (bromo-adjacent homology) domain at its N terminus. Overexpression of this domain alone can lead to silencing as long as Sir1 is overexpressed and Sir2 and Sir4 are present. Overexpression of the closely related Orc1 BAH domain can also silence in the absence of any Sir3 protein. A previously characterized hypermorphic sir3 mutation, D205N, greatly improves silencing by the Sir3 BAH domain and allows it to bind to DNA and oligonucleosomes in vitro. A previously uncharacterized region in the Sir1 N terminus is required for silencing by both the Sir3 and Orc1 BAH domains. The structure of the Sir3 BAH domain has been determined. In the crystal, the molecule multimerizes in the form of a left-handed superhelix. This superhelix may be relevant to the function of the BAH domain of Sir3 in silencing.

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