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Mol Microbiol. 2000 Oct;38(1):154-66.

A protein with similarity to the human retinoblastoma binding protein 2 acts specifically as a repressor for genes regulated by the b mating type locus in Ustilago maydis.

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1
Institut für Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Maria-Ward-Strasse 1a, D-80638 München, Germany.

Abstract

Pathogenic development in the corn smut fungus Ustilago maydis is controlled by a heterodimer of the two homeodomain proteins bE and bW which are encoded by the b mating type locus. The bE/bW heterodimer is thought to achieve its function as a transcriptional regulator of pathogenicity genes, either directly by binding to cis regulatory sequences or indirectly via a b-dependent regulatory cascade. In a screen for components of the b-dependent regulatory cascade we have isolated Rum1 (regulator U. maydis 1), a protein with similarities to the human retinoblastoma binding protein 2. Deletion of rum1 results in expression of several b regulated genes independently from their activation via the bE/bW heterodimer. rum1 mutant strains remain pathogenic, proliferate in planta, but fail to produce spores. The defect leads to an arrest in spore development at a defined stage before the spore wall is generated. Deduced from the highly conserved domain structure of Rum1 that includes a DNA-binding motif and a region known to facilitate the interaction with histone deacetylases, we propose that Rum1 functions as a transcriptional repressor through the modulation of chromatin structure.

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