Nuclear architecture and spatial positioning help establish transcriptional states of telomeres in yeast

Nat Cell Biol. 2002 Mar;4(3):214-21. doi: 10.1038/ncb756.


Recent experiments have shown that gene repression can be correlated with relocation of genes to heterochromatin-rich silent domains. Here, we investigate whether nuclear architecture and spatial positioning can contribute directly to the transcriptional activity of a genetic locus in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. By disassembling telomeric silent domains without altering the chromatin-mediated silencing machinery, we show that the transcriptional activity of silencer--reporter constructs depends on intranuclear position. This demonstrates that telomeric silent domains are actively involved in transcriptional silencing. Employing fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) in combination with genetic assays, we demonstrate that telomeres control the establishment of transcriptional states by reversible partitioning with the perinuclear silencing domains. Anchoring telomeres interferes with their ability to assume an active state, whereas disassembly of silencing domains prevents telomeres from assuming a repressed state. Our data support a model in which domains of enriched transcriptional regulators allow genes to determine transcriptional states by spatial positioning.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Nucleus / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Fungal Proteins / genetics
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Silencing
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genes, Reporter
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins / metabolism
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques


  • Fungal Proteins
  • MLP1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • MLP2 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Nuclear Pore Complex Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins