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Nature. 2004 Dec 23;432(7020):1054-8.

The transcription factor Ifh1 is a key regulator of yeast ribosomal protein genes.

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Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Ribosomal protein (RP) genes in eukaryotes are coordinately regulated in response to growth stimuli and environmental stress, thereby permitting cells to adjust ribosome number and overall protein synthetic capacity to physiological conditions. Approximately 50% of RNA polymerase II transcription is devoted to RP genes. The transcriptional regulator Rap1 binds most yeast RP promoters, and Rap1 sites are important for coordinate regulation of RP genes. However, Rap1 is not the specific regulator that controls RP transcription because it also functions as a repressor, and many Rap1-activated promoters are not coordinately regulated with RP promoters. Here we show that the transcription factors Fhl1 and Ifh1 associate almost exclusively with RP promoters; association depends on Rap1 and (to a lesser extent) a DNA element at many RP promoters. Ifh1 is recruited to promoters via the forkhead-associated (FHA) domain of Fhl1; the level of Ifh1 associated with RP promoters determines the level of transcription; and environmental stress causes a marked reduction in the association of Ifh1, but not Fhl1 or Rap1. Thus, Ifh1 association with promoters is the key regulatory step for coordinate expression of RP genes.

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