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J Biol Chem. 2012 Jul 6;287(28):23440-50. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.349944. Epub 2012 May 15.

HIRA, a conserved histone chaperone, plays an essential role in low-dose stress response via transcriptional stimulation in fission yeast.

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Department of Gene Mechanisms, Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Konoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


Cells that have been pre-exposed to mild stress (priming stress) acquire transient resistance to subsequent severe stress even under different combinations of stresses. This phenomenon is called cross-tolerance. Although it has been reported that cross-tolerance occurs in many organisms, the molecular basis is not clear yet. Here, we identified slm9(+) as a responsible gene for the cross-tolerance in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Slm9 is a homolog of mammalian HIRA histone chaperone. HIRA forms a conserved complex and gene disruption of other HIRA complex components, Hip1, Hip3, and Hip4, also yielded a cross-tolerance-defective phenotype, indicating that the fission yeast HIRA is involved in the cross-tolerance as a complex. We also revealed that Slm9 was recruited to the stress-responsive gene loci upon stress treatment in an Atf1-dependent manner. The expression of stress-responsive genes under stress conditions was compromised in HIRA disruptants. Consistent with this, Pol II recruitment and nucleosome eviction at these gene loci were impaired in slm9Δ cells. Furthermore, we found that the priming stress enhanced the expression of stress-responsive genes in wild-type cells that were exposed to the severe stress. These observations suggest that HIRA functions in stress response through transcriptional regulation.

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