The Chromatin and Transcriptional Landscape of Native Saccharomyces cerevisiae Telomeres and Subtelomeric Domains

Genetics. 2015 Jun;200(2):505-21. doi: 10.1534/genetics.115.175711. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Saccharomyces cerevisiae telomeres have been a paradigm for studying telomere position effects on gene expression. Telomere position effect was first described in yeast by its effect on the expression of reporter genes inserted adjacent to truncated telomeres. The reporter genes showed variable silencing that depended on the Sir2/3/4 complex. Later studies examining subtelomeric reporter genes inserted at natural telomeres hinted that telomere position effects were less pervasive than previously thought. Additionally, more recent data using the sensitive technology of chromatin immunoprecipitation and massively parallel sequencing (ChIP-Seq) revealed a discrete and noncontinuous pattern of coenrichment for all three Sir proteins at a few telomeres, calling the generality of these conclusions into question. Here we combined the ChIP-Seq of the Sir proteins with RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) in wild-type and in SIR2, SIR3, and SIR4 deletion mutants to characterize the chromatin and transcriptional landscape of all native S. cerevisiae telomeres at the highest achievable resolution. Most S. cerevisiae chromosomes had subtelomeric genes that were expressed, with only ∼6% of subtelomeric genes silenced in a SIR-dependent manner. In addition, we uncovered 29 genes with previously unknown cell-type-specific patterns of expression. These detailed data provided a comprehensive assessment of the chromatin and transcriptional landscape of the subtelomeric domains of a eukaryotic genome.

Keywords: ChIP-Seq; RNA-Seq; Sir complex; mating-type regulation; telomeres.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetylation
  • Catalysis
  • Chromatin / genetics*
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Diploidy
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Fungal*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Haploidy
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / genetics
  • Silent Information Regulator Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics
  • Silent Information Regulator Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae / metabolism
  • Telomere / genetics*
  • Telomere / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • PAU19 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Silent Information Regulator Proteins, Saccharomyces cerevisiae