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Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Apr;20(7):2350-7.

Architectural transcription factors and the SAGA complex function in parallel pathways to activate transcription.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Department of Oncological Sciences, University of Utah Health Sciences Center, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


Recent work has shown that transcription of the yeast HO gene involves the sequential recruitment of a series of transcription factors. We have performed a functional analysis of HO regulation by determining the ability of mutations in SIN1, SIN3, RPD3, and SIN4 negative regulators to permit HO expression in the absence of certain activators. Mutations in the SIN1 (=SPT2) gene do not affect HO regulation, in contrast to results of other studies using an HO:lacZ reporter, and our data show that the regulatory properties of an HO:lacZ reporter differ from that of the native HO gene. Mutations in SIN3 and RPD3, which encode components of a histone deacetylase complex, show the same pattern of genetic suppression, and this suppression pattern differs from that seen in a sin4 mutant. The Sin4 protein is present in two transcriptional regulatory complexes, the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme/mediator and the SAGA histone acetylase complex. Our genetic analysis allows us to conclude that Swi/Snf chromatin remodeling complex has multiple roles in HO activation, and the data suggest that the ability of the SBF transcription factor to bind to the HO promoter may be affected by the acetylation state of the HO promoter. We also demonstrate that the Nhp6 architectural transcription factor, encoded by the redundant NHP6A and NHP6B genes, is required for HO expression. Suppression analysis with sin3, rpd3, and sin4 mutations suggests that Nhp6 and Gcn5 have similar functions. A gcn5 nhp6a nhp6b triple mutant is extremely sick, suggesting that the SAGA complex and the Nhp6 architectural transcription factors function in parallel pathways to activate transcription. We find that disruption of SIN4 allows this strain to grow at a reasonable rate, indicating a critical role for Sin4 in detecting structural changes in chromatin mediated by Gcn5 and Nhp6. These studies underscore the critical role of chromatin structure in regulating HO gene expression.

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