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Biotechnol Adv. 2012 Jan-Feb;30(1):185-201. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2011.09.007. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Overexpression of Far1, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, induces a large transcriptional reprogramming in which RNA synthesis senses Far1 in a Sfp1-mediated way.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Biotecnologie e Bioscienze, Università di Milano-Bicocca, Milano, Italy.


The FAR1 gene encodes an 830 residue bifunctional protein, whose major function is inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinase complexes involved in the G1/S transition. FAR1 transcription is maximal between mitosis and early G1 phase. Enhanced FAR1 transcription is necessary but not sufficient for the pheromone-induced G1 arrest, since FAR1 overexpression itself does not trigger cell cycle arrest. Besides its well established role in the response to pheromone, recent evidences suggest that Far1 may also regulate the mitotic cell cycle progression: in particular, it has been proposed that Far1, together with the G1 cyclin Cln3, may be part of a cell sizer mechanism that controls the entry into S phase. Far1 is an unstable protein throughout the cell cycle except during G1 phase. Far1 levels peak in newborn cells as a consequence of a burst of synthetic activity at the end of the previous cycle, and the amounts per cell remain roughly constant during the G1 phase. Phosphorylation (at serine 87) by Cdk1-Cln complexes primes Far1 for ubiquitin-mediated proteolysis. By coupling a genome-wide transcriptional analysis of FAR1-overexpressing and far1Δ cells grown in ethanol- or glucose-supplemented minimal media with a range of phenotypic analysis, we show that FAR1 overexpression not only coordinately increases RNA and protein accumulation, but induces strong transcriptional remodeling, metabolism being the most affected cellular property, suggesting that the Far1/Cln3 sizer regulates cell growth either directly or indirectly by affecting metabolism and pathways known to modulate ribosome biogenesis. A crucial role in mediating the effect of Far1 overexpression is played by the Sfp1 protein, a key transcriptional regulator of ribosome biogenesis, whose presence is mandatory to allow a coordinated increase in both RNA and protein levels in ethanol-grown cells.

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