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Mol Microbiol. 2011 Apr;80(2):407-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2958.2011.07583.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Activator-independent transcription of Snf1-dependent genes in mutants lacking histone tails.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Transcriptional regulation of Snf1-dependent genes occurs in part by histone-acetylation-dependent binding of the transcription factor Adr1. Analysis of previously published microarray data indicated unscheduled transcription of a large number of Snf1- and Adr1-dependent genes when either the histone H3 or H4 tail was deleted. Quantitative real-time PCR confirmed that the tails were important to preserve stringent transcriptional repression of Snf1-dependent genes when glucose was present. The absence of the tails allowed Adr1 and RNA Polymerase II to bind promoters in normally inhibitory conditions. The promoters escaped glucose repression to a limited extent and the weak constitutive ADH2 transcription induced by deletion of the histone tails was transcription factor- and Snf1-independent. These effects were apparently due to a permissive chromatin structure that allowed transcription in the absence of repression mediated by the histone tails. Deleting REG1, and thus activating Snf1 in the H3 tail mutant enhanced transcription in repressing conditions, indicating that Snf1 and the H3 tail influence transcription independently. Deleting REG1 in the histone H4 tail mutant appeared to be lethal, even in the absence of Snf1, suggesting that Reg1 and the H4 tail have redundant functions that are important for cell viability.

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