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Genes Genet Syst. 2011;86(2):73-81.

Boundaries of transcriptionally silent chromatin in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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  • 1Department of Applied Chemistry & Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, University of Fukui, Bunkyo 3-9-1, Fukui 910-8507, Japan.


In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, heterochromatic gene silencing has been found within HMR and HML silent mating type loci, the telomeres, and the rRNA-encoding DNA. There may be boundary elements that regulate the spread of silencing to protect genes adjacent to silenced domains from this epigenetic repressive effect. Many assays show that specific DNA regulatory elements separate a euchromatic locus from a neighboring heterochromatic domain and thereby function as a boundary. Alternatively, DNA-independent mechanisms such as competition between acetylated and deacetylated histones are also reported to contribute to gene insulation. However, the mechanism by which boundaries are formed is not clear. Here, the characteristics and functions of boundaries at silenced domains in S. cerevisiae are discussed.

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