The Paf1 complex represses SER3 transcription in Saccharomyces cerevisiae by facilitating intergenic transcription-dependent nucleosome occupancy of the SER3 promoter

Eukaryot Cell. 2011 Oct;10(10):1283-94. doi: 10.1128/EC.05141-11. Epub 2011 Aug 26.


Previous studies have shown that repression of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SER3 gene is dependent on transcription of SRG1 from noncoding DNA initiating within the intergenic region 5' of SER3 and extending across the SER3 promoter region. By a mechanism dependent on the activities of the Swi/Snf chromatin remodeling factor, the HMG-like factor Spt2, and the Spt6 and Spt16 histone chaperones, SRG1 transcription deposits nucleosomes over the SER3 promoter to prevent transcription factors from binding and activating SER3. In this study, we uncover a role for the Paf1 transcription elongation complex in SER3 repression. We find that SER3 repression is primarily dependent on the Paf1 and Ctr9 subunits of this complex, with minor contributions by the Rtf1, Cdc73, and Leo1 subunits. We show that the Paf1 complex localizes to the SRG1 transcribed region under conditions that repress SER3, consistent with it having a direct role in mediating SRG1 transcription-dependent SER3 repression. Importantly, we show that the defect in SER3 repression in strains lacking Paf1 subunits is not a result of reduced SRG1 transcription or reduced levels of known Paf1 complex-dependent histone modifications. Rather, we find that strains lacking subunits of the Paf1 complex exhibit reduced nucleosome occupancy and reduced recruitment of Spt16 and, to a lesser extent, Spt6 at the SER3 promoter. Taken together, our results suggest that Paf1 and Ctr9 repress SER3 by maintaining SRG1 transcription-dependent nucleosome occupancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • DNA, Intergenic / genetics*
  • DNA, Intergenic / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Protein Binding
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / enzymology*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Transcriptional Elongation Factors / genetics
  • Transcriptional Elongation Factors / metabolism


  • CTR9 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA, Intergenic
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Nucleosomes
  • PAF1 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcriptional Elongation Factors
  • Phosphoglycerate Dehydrogenase
  • SER3 protein, S cerevisiae