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Mol Cell Biol. 1991 Jan;11(1):281-8.

Regulation of heat shock factor in Schizosaccharomyces pombe more closely resembles regulation in mammals than in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston 02114.


The heat shock response appears to be universal. All eucaryotes studied encode a protein, heat shock factor (HSF), that is believed to regulate transcription of heat shock genes. This protein binds to a regulatory sequence, the heat shock element, that is absolutely conserved among eucaryotes. We report here the identification of HSF in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. HSF binding was not observed in extracts from normally growing S. pombe (28 degrees C) but was detected in increasing amounts as the temperature of heat shock increased between 39 and 45 degrees C. This regulation is in contrast to that observed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, in which HSF binding is detectable at both normal and heat shock temperatures. The S. pombe factor bound specifically to the heat shock element, as judged by methylation interference and DNase I protection analysis. The induction of S. pombe HSF was not inhibited by cycloheximide, suggesting that induction occurs posttranslationally, and the induced factor was shown to be phosphorylated. S. pombe HSF was purified to near homogeneity and was shown to have an apparent mobility of approximately 108 kDa. Since heat-induced DNA binding by HSF had previously been demonstrated only in metazoans, the conservation of heat-induced DNA binding by HSF among S. pombe and metazoans suggests that this mode of regulation is evolutionarily ancient.

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