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Genes Dev. 1997 May 15;11(10):1277-88.

A novel Mcm1-dependent element in the SWI4, CLN3, CDC6, and CDC47 promoters activates M/G1-specific transcription.

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  • 1Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Basic Sciences Division, Seattle, Washington 98104, USA.


We have identified a novel promoter element that confers M/G1-specific transcription in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This element, which we call an ECB (early cell cycle box), was first identified in the SWI4 promoter, but it is also present in the promoter of a G1 cyclin CLN3, as well as in the promoters of three DNA replication genes: CDC6, CDC47, and CDC46. Transcripts from all five of these genes oscillate during the cell cycle and peak at the M/G1 boundary, as do isolated ECB elements in reporter constructs. The ECB element contains an Mcm1 binding site to which Mcm1 binds in vitro, and an Mcm1-VP16 fusion, which places a constitutive activator on Mcm1-binding sites in vivo, can deregulate ECB-containing promoters. Mcm1 is a transcription factor that is also required for minichromosome maintenance. We provide evidence that the replication defect of mcm1 mutants can be suppressed by ectopic CDC6 transcription. Periodic expression of SWI4 and CLN3 may be important for cell cycle progression, as we find that these genes are both haploinsufficient and rate limiting for G1 progression. We suggest that ECB-regulated gene products play critical roles in promoting the initiation of S-phase, both by regulating CLN1 and CLN2 transcription and as components of the initiation complex on origins of replication.

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