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Genes Dev. 1996 Jul 15;10(14):1796-811.

Evidence for silencing compartments within the yeast nucleus: a role for telomere proximity and Sir protein concentration in silencer-mediated repression.

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Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire de l'Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France.


Transcriptional repression at the silent mating-type loci in yeast requires the targeting of silent information regulator (Sir) proteins through specific interactions formed at cis-acting silencer elements. We show here that a reporter gene flanked by two functional silencers is not repressed when integrated at >200 kb from a telomere. Repression is restored by creation of a new telomere 13 kb from the integrated reporter or by elevated expression of SIR1, SIR3, and/or SIR4. Coupled expression represses in an additive manner, suggesting that all three factors are in limiting concentrations. When overexpressed, Sir3 and Sir4 are dispersed throughout the nucleoplasm, in contrast to wild-type cells where they are clustered in a limited number of foci together with telomeres. Efficient silencer function thus seems to require either proximity to a pool of concentrated Sir proteins, that is, proximity to telomeres, or delocalization of the silencing factors.

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