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Cell. 1996 Mar 8;84(5):711-22.

Identification of asymmetrically localized determinant, Ash1p, required for lineage-specific transcription of the yeast HO gene.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, 94143-0448 USA.


S. cerevisiae cells exhibit asymmetric determination of cell fate. Cell division yields a mother cell, which is competent to transcribe the HO gene and switch mating type, and a daughter cell, which is not. We have isolated a mutant in which daughters transcribe HO and switch mating type. This mutation defines the ASH1 gene (asymmetric synthesis of HO). Deletion and overexpression of ASH1 cause reciprocal cell fate transformations: im ash1delta strains, daughters switch mating type as efficiently as mothers. Conversely, overexpression of ASH1 inhibits switching in mother cells. Ash1p has a zinc finger motif related to those of GATA transcriptional regulators. Ash1p is localized to the daughter nucleus in cells that have undergone nuclear division. Thus, Ash1p is a cell fate determinant that is asymmetrically localized to the daughter nucleus where it inhibits HO transcription.

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