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Genes Dev. 1991 Nov;5(11):2000-13.

Changes in a SWI4,6-DNA-binding complex occur at the time of HO gene activation in yeast.

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  • 1Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, Vienna, Austria.


The yeast HO gene is transcribed transiently during G1 as cells undergo START. START-specific HO activation requires two proteins, SWI4 and SWI6, which act via a motif (CACGA4) repeated up to 10 times within the URS2 region of the HO promoter. We identified a DNA-binding activity containing SWI4 and SWI6 that recognizes the CACGA4 sequences within URS2. Two forms of SWI4,6-DNA complexes called L and U can be distinguished by their electrophoretic mobility. L complexes can be detected at all stages of the cell cycle, but U complexes are only detected in cells that have undergone START. The formation of U complexes may be the trigger of HO activation. The SWI6 protein is concentrated in the nucleus throughout G1, but at some point in S or G2 significant amounts accumulate in the cytoplasm. This change in cellular location of the SWI6 protein might contribute to the turnoff of HO transcription after cells have undergone START.

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