Regulating repression : roles for the Sir4 N-terminus in linker DNA protection and stabilization of epigenetic states
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Silent information regulator proteins Sir2, Sir3, and Sir4 form a heterotrimeric complex that represses transcription at subtelomeric regions and homothallic mating type (HM) loci in budding yeast. We have performed a detailed biochemical and genetic analysis of the largest Sir protein, Sir4. The N-terminal half of Sir4 is dispensable for SIR-mediated repression of HM loci in vivo, except in strains that lack Yku70 or have weak silencer elements. For HM silencing in these cells, the C-terminal domain (Sir4C, residues 747-1,358) must be complemented with an N-terminal domain (Sir4N; residues 1-270), expressed either independently or as a fusion with Sir4C. Nonetheless, recombinant Sir4C can form a complex with Sir2 and Sir3 in vitro, is catalytically active, and has sedimentation properties similar to a full-length Sir4-containing SIR complex. Sir4C-containing SIR complexes bind nucleosomal arrays and protect linker DNA from nucleolytic digestion, but less effectively than wild-type SIR complexes. Consistently, full-length Sir4 is required for the complete repression of subtelomeric genes. Supporting the notion that the Sir4 N-terminus is a regulatory domain, we find it extensively phosphorylated on cyclin-dependent kinase consensus sites, some being hyperphosphorylated during mitosis. Mutation of two major phosphoacceptor sites (S63 and S84) derepresses natural subtelomeric genes when combined with a serendipitous mutation (P2A), which alone can enhance the stability of either the repressed or active state. The triple mutation confers resistance to rapamycin-induced stress and a loss of subtelomeric repression. We conclude that the Sir4 N-terminus plays two roles in SIR-mediated silencing: it contributes to epigenetic repression by stabilizing the SIR-mediated protection of linker DNA; and, as a target of phosphorylation, it can destabilize silencing in a regulated manner.
Kueng , S , Tsai-Pflugfelder , M , Oppikofer , M , Ferreira , H C , Roberts , E , Tsai , C , Roloff , T-C , Sack , R & Gasser , S M 2012 , ' Regulating repression : roles for the Sir4 N-terminus in linker DNA protection and stabilization of epigenetic states ' PLoS Genetics , vol 8 , no. 5 , e1002727 . DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002727
© 2012 Kueng et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
DescriptionThe Gasser laboratory is supported by the Novartis Research Foundation and the EU training network Nucleosome 4D. SK was supported by an EMBO long-term fellowship, a Schrodinger fellowship from the FWF, and the Swiss SystemsX.ch initiative/C-CINA; HCF by an EMBO long-term fellowship.
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