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Cell. 2006 Nov 17;127(4):735-45.

Antisense transcription controls cell fate in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Entry into meiosis is a key developmental decision. We show here that meiotic entry in Saccharomyces cerevisiae is controlled by antisense-mediated regulation of IME4, a gene required for initiating meiosis. In MAT a/alpha diploids the antisense IME4 transcript is repressed by binding of the a1/alpha2 heterodimer at a conserved site located downstream of the IME4 coding sequence. MAT a/alpha diploids that produce IME4 antisense transcript have diminished sense transcription and fail to initiate meiosis. Haploids that produce the sense transcript have diminished antisense transcription and manifest several diploid phenotypes. Our data are consistent with transcription interference as a regulatory mechanism at the IME4 locus that determines cell fate.

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