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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Jul;26(13):4853-62.

Fine-structure analysis of ribosomal protein gene transcription.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Ave., Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


The ribosomal protein genes of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, responsible for nearly 40% of the polymerase II transcription initiation events, are characterized by the constitutive tight binding of the transcription factor Rap1. Rap1 binds at many places in the yeast genome, including glycolytic enzyme genes, the silent MAT loci, and telomeres, its specificity arising from specific cofactors recruited at the appropriate genes. At the ribosomal protein genes two such cofactors have recently been identified as Fhl1 and Ifh1. We have now characterized the interaction of these factors at a bidirectional ribosomal protein promoter by replacing the Rap1 sites with LexA operator sites. LexA-Gal4(AD) drives active transcription at this modified promoter, although not always at the correct initiation site. Tethering Rap1 to the promoter neither drives transcription nor recruits Fhl1 or Ifh1, showing that Rap1 function requires direct DNA binding. Tethering Fhl1 also fails to activate transcription, even though it does recruit Ifh1, suggesting that Fhl1 does more than simply provide a platform for Ifh1. Tethering Ifh1 to the promoter leads to low-level transcription, at the correct initiation sites. Remarkably, activation by tethered LexA-Gal4(AD) is strongly reduced when TOR kinase is inhibited by rapamycin. Thus, TOR can act independently of Fhl1/Ifh1 at ribosomal protein promoters. We also show that, in our strain background, the response of ribosomal protein promoters to TOR inhibition is independent of the Ifh1-related protein Crf1, indicating that the role of this corepressor is strain specific. Fine-structure chromatin mapping of several ribosomal protein promoters revealed that histones are essentially absent from the Rap1 sites, while Fhl1 and Ifh1 are coincident with each other but distinct from Rap1.

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