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Mol Cell Biol. 2006 Aug;26(16):6223-38.

Expression of rRNA genes and nucleolus formation at ectopic chromosomal sites in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California at Irvine, 240D Medical Sciences I, Irvine, CA 92697-1700, USA.


We constructed yeast strains in which rRNA gene repeats are integrated at ectopic sites in the presence or absence of the native nucleolus. At all three ectopic sites analyzed, near centromere CEN5, near the telomere of chromosome VI-R, and in middle of chromosome V-R (mid-V-R), a functional nucleolus was formed, and no difference in the expression of rRNA genes was observed. When two ribosomal DNA (rDNA) arrays are present, one native and the other ectopic, there is codominance in polymerase I (Pol I) transcription. We also examined the expression of a single rDNA repeat integrated into ectopic loci in strains with or without the native RDN1 locus. In a strain with reduced rRNA gene copies at RDN1 (approximately 40 copies), the expression of a single rRNA gene copy near the telomere was significantly reduced relative to the other ectopic sites, suggesting a less-efficient recruitment of the Pol I machinery from the RDN1 locus. In addition, we found a single rRNA gene at mid-V-R was as active as that within the 40-copy RDN1. Combined with the results of activity analysis of a single versus two tandem copies at CEN5, we conclude that tandem repetition is not required for efficient rRNA gene transcription.

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