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Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Nov;27(21):7693-702. Epub 2007 Sep 4.

Maf1 is involved in coupling carbon metabolism to RNA polymerase III transcription.

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Department of Genetics, Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Pawińskiego 5a, 02-106 Warsaw, Poland.


RNA polymerase III (Pol III) produces essential components of the biosynthetic machinery, and therefore its activity is tightly coupled with cell growth and metabolism. In the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Maf1 is the only known global and direct Pol III transcription repressor which mediates numerous stress signals. Here we demonstrate that transcription regulation by Maf1 is not limited to stress but is important for the switch between fermentation and respiration. Under respiratory conditions, Maf1 is activated by dephosphorylation and imported into the nucleus. The transition from a nonfermentable carbon source to that of glucose induces Maf1 phosphorylation and its relocation to the cytoplasm. The absence of Maf1-mediated control of tRNA synthesis impairs cell viability in nonfermentable carbon sources. The respiratory phenotype of maf1-Delta allowed genetic suppression studies to dissect the mechanism of Maf1 action on the Pol III transcription apparatus. Moreover, in cells grown in a nonfermentable carbon source, Maf1 regulates the levels of different tRNAs to various extents. The differences in regulation may contribute to the physiological role of Maf1.

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