The product of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae SIR4 gene, in conjunction with at least three other gene products, prevents expression of mating-type genes resident at loci at either end of chromosome III, but not of the same genes resident at the MAT locus in the middle of the chromosome. To address the mechanism of this novel position effect regulation, we have conducted a structural and genetic analysis of the SIR4 gene. We have determined the nucleotide sequence of the gene and found that it encodes a lysine-rich, serine-rich protein of 152 kilodaltons. Expression of the carboxy half of the protein complements a chromosomal nonsense mutation of sir4 but not a complete deletion of the gene. These results suggest that SIR4 protein activity resides in two portions of the molecule, but that these domains need not be covalently linked to execute their biological function. We also found that high-level expression of the carboxy domain of the protein yields dominant derepression of the silent loci. This anti-Sir activity can be reversed by increased expression of the SIR3 gene, whose product is normally also required for maintaining repression of the silent loci. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that SIR3 and SIR4 proteins physically associate to form a multicomponent complex required for repression of the silent mating-type loci.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology