Transcriptional silencers in the yeast Saccharomyces induce position- specific, sequence-independent repression by promoting formation of a heterochromatin-like structure across sequences adjacent to them. We have examined the role of silencers in maintenance and inheritance of repression at the silent mating-type cassettes in yeast by monitoring the expression state of one of these cassettes following in vivo deletion of the adjacent silencer. Our experiments indicate that although silencer sequences are dispensable for the maintenance of repression in the absence of cell-cycle progression, silencers are required for the stable inheritance of a repressed state. That is, silenced loci from which the silencer is deleted most often become derepressed within one generation of losing the silencer. Thus, the heritability of a repressed state is not intrinsic to a silenced locus or to the chromatin encompassing it; rather, heritability of repression appears to be a property of the silencer itself.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology