Diploid yeast undergo meiosis under certain conditions of nutrient limitation, which trigger a transcriptional cascade involving two key regulatory genes. IME1 is a positive activator of IME2, which activates downstream genes. We report that Gcn5, a histone H3 acetylase, plays a central role in initiation of meiosis via effects on IME2 expression. An allele, gcn5-21, was isolated as a mutant defective in spore formation. gcn5- 21 fails to carry out meiotic DNA replication, recombination, or meiotic divisions. This mutant also fails to induce IME2 transcription; IME1 transcription, however, is essentially normal. Further investigation shows that during wild-type meiosis the IME2 promoter undergoes an increase in the level of bound acetylated histone H3. This increase is contemporaneous with meiotic induction of IME2 transcription and is absent in gcn5-21. In contrast, the RPD3 gene, which encodes a histone H4 deacetylase and is known to be required for repression of basal/ME2 transcription in growing yeast cells, is not involved in induction of IME2 transcription or IME2 histone acetlyation during meiosis. These and other results suggest that Gcn5 and Rpd3 play distinct roles, modulating transcription initiation in opposite directions under two different cellular conditions. These roles are implemented via opposing effects of the two gene products on acetylation of two different histones. Finally, we find that gcn5 and rpd3 single mutants are not defective in meiosis if acetate is absent and respiration is promoted by a metabolically unrelated carbon source. Perhaps intracellular acetate levels regulate meiosis by controlling histone acetylation patterns.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 8 1999|
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