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BMC Mol Biol. 2006 Nov 9;7:40.

Rtt107/Esc4 binds silent chromatin and DNA repair proteins using different BRCT motifs.

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Department of Biochemistry and Cellular Biology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794, USA. <>



By screening a plasmid library for proteins that could cause silencing when targeted to the HMR locus in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we previously reported the identification of Rtt107/Esc4 based on its ability to establish silent chromatin. In this study we aimed to determine the mechanism of Rtt107/Esc4 targeted silencing and also learn more about its biological functions.


Targeted silencing by Rtt107/Esc4 was dependent on the SIR genes, which encode obligatory structural and enzymatic components of yeast silent chromatin. Based on its sequence, Rtt107/Esc4 was predicted to contain six BRCT motifs. This motif, originally identified in the human breast tumor suppressor gene BRCA1, is a protein interaction domain. The targeted silencing activity of Rtt107/Esc4 resided within the C-terminal two BRCT motifs, and this region of the protein bound to Sir3 in two-hybrid tests. Deletion of RTT107/ESC4 caused sensitivity to the DNA damaging agent MMS as well as to hydroxyurea. A two-hybrid screen showed that the N-terminal BRCT motifs of Rtt107/Esc4 bound to Slx4, a protein previously shown to be involved in DNA repair and required for viability in a strain lacking the DNA helicase Sgs1. Like SLX genes, RTT107ESC4 interacted genetically with SGS1; esc4Delta sgs1Delta mutants were viable, but exhibited a slow-growth phenotype and also a synergistic DNA repair defect.


Rtt107/Esc4 binds to the silencing protein Sir3 and the DNA repair protein Slx4 via different BRCT motifs, thus providing a bridge linking silent chromatin to DNA repair enzymes.

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