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J Mol Biol. 2001 Jun 22;309(5):1007-15.

Sfl1 functions via the co-repressor Ssn6-Tup1 and the cAMP-dependent protein kinase Tpk2.

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Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology-Foundation of Research & Technology, Vassilika Vouton, Heraklion, Crete, GR-711 10, Greece.


Ssn6 (Cyc8) is a component of the yeast general corepressor Ssn6-Tup1 that inhibits the transcription of many diversely regulated genes. The corepressor does not interact directly with DNA but is recruited to different promoters through interactions with distinct pathway-specific, DNA-binding repressor proteins. Using yeast two-hybrid and GST chromatography interaction experiments, we have determined that Sfl1, a novel repressor protein, interacts directly with Ssn6, and in vivo repression data suggest that Sfl1 inhibits transcription by recruiting Ssn6-Tup1 via a specific domain in the Sfl1 protein. Sin4 and Srb10, components of specific RNA polymerase II sub-complexes that are required for Ssn6-Tup1 repression activity, are found to be required for Sfl1 repression function. These results indicate a possible mechanism for Sfl1-mediated repression via Ssn6-Tup1 and specific subunits of the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme. Electrophoretic mobility shift and chromatin immuno-precipitation assays demonstrate that Sfl1 is present at the promoters of three Ssn6-Tup1-repressible genes; namely, FLO11, HSP26, and SUC2. Sfl1 is known to interact with Tpk2, a cAMP-dependent protein kinase that negatively regulates Sfl1 function. Consistently, we show that phosphorylation by protein kinase A inhibits Sfl1 DNA binding in vitro, and that a tpk2Delta mutation increases the levels of Sfl1 protein associated with specific promoter elements in vivo. These data indicate a possible mechanism for regulating Sfl1-mediated repression through modulation of DNA binding by cAMP-dependent protein kinase-dependent phosphorylation. Taken together with previous data, these new observations suggest a link between cAMP signaling and Ssn6-Tup1-mediated transcriptional repression.

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