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Mol Cell Biol. 2010 May;30(10):2330-40. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01675-09. Epub 2010 Mar 8.

Dominant role for signal transduction in the transcriptional memory of yeast GAL genes.

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  • 1Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 373 Plantation Street, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


Several recent studies have shown that the transcriptional induction of yeast GAL genes occurs with faster kinetics if the gene has been previously expressed. Depending on the experimental regimen, this transcriptional "memory" phenomenon can persist for 1 to 2 cell divisions in the absence of an inducer (short-term memory) or for >6 cell divisions (long-term memory). Long-term memory requires the GAL1 gene, suggesting that memory involves the cytoplasmic inheritance of high levels of Gal1 that are expressed in the initial round of expression. In contrast, short-term memory requires the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling enzyme, and thus, it may involve the inheritance of distinct chromatin states. Here we have reevaluated the roles of SWI/SNF, the histone variant H2A.Z, and components of the nuclear pore in both the short-term and long-term memory of GAL genes. Our results suggest that the propagation of novel chromatin structures does not contribute to the transcriptional memory of GAL genes, but rather, memory of the previous transcription state is controlled primarily by the inheritance of the Gal3p and Gal1p signaling factors.

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