Roles of two DNA-binding factors in replication, segregation and transcriptional repression mediated by a yeast silencer

EMBO J. 1988 Jul;7(7):2241-53.


The HMR E silencer is required for SIR-dependent transcriptional repression of the silent mating-type locus, HMR. The silencer also behaves as an origin of replication (ARS element) and allows plasmids to replicate autonomously in yeast. The replication and segregation properties of these plasmids are also dependent on the four SIR genes. We have previously characterized two DNA-binding factors in yeast extracts that recognize specific sequences at the HMR E silencer. These proteins, called ABFI (ARS-Binding Factor) and GRFI (General Regulatory Factor), are not encoded by any of the SIR genes. To investigate the biological roles of these factors, single-base-pair mutations were constructed in both binding sites at the HMR E silencer that were no longer recognized by the corresponding proteins in vitro. Our results indicate that the GRFI-binding site is required for the efficient segregation of plasmids replicated by the HMR E silencer. SIR-dependent transcriptional repression requires either an intact ABFI-binding site or GRFI-binding site, although the GRFI-binding site appears to be more important. A double-mutant silencer that binds neither ABFI nor GRFI does not mediate transcriptional repression of HMR. The replacement of HMR E with a chromosomal origin of replication (ARS1) allows partial SIR-dependent transcriptional repression of HMR, indicating a role for replication in silencer function. Together, these results suggest that the SIR proteins influence the properties of the HMR E silencer through interactions with other DNA-binding proteins.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Replication*
  • DNA, Fungal / genetics
  • DNA, Recombinant / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Genes, Fungal
  • Genes, Mating Type, Fungal
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Genotype
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Plasmids
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • DNA, Fungal
  • DNA, Recombinant
  • DNA-Binding Proteins