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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Dec 19;92(26):12490-4.

UME6 is a central component of a developmental regulatory switch controlling meiosis-specific gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The UME6 gene of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was identified as a mitotic repressor of early meiosis-specific gene expression. It encodes a Zn2Cys6 DNA-binding protein which binds to URS1, a promoter element needed for both mitotic repression and meiotic induction of early meiotic genes. This paper demonstrates that a complete deletion of UME6 causes not only vegetative derepression of early meiotic genes during vegetative growth but also a significant reduction in induction of meiosis-specific genes, accompanied by a severe defect in meiotic progression. After initiating premeiotic DNA synthesis the vast majority of cells (approximately 85%) become arrested in prophase and fail to execute recombination; a minority of cells (approximately 15%) complete recombination and meiosis I, and half of these form asci. Quantitative analysis of the same early meiotic transcripts that are vegetatively derepressed in the ume6 mutant, SPO11, SPO13, IME2, and SPO1, indicates a low level of induction in meiosis above their vegetative derepressed levels. In addition, the expression of later meiotic transcripts, SPS2 and DIT1, is significantly delayed and reduced. The expression pattern of early meiotic genes in ume6-deleted cells is strikingly similar to that of early meiotic genes with promoter mutations in URS1. These results support the view that UME6 and URS1 are part of a developmental switch that controls both vegetative repression and meiotic induction of meiosis-specific genes.

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